Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Miracle at Philadelphia
A miracle occurred in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. The United States Constitution was signed.
It was the product of four long months of heated debate, signed by forty men who disagreed with each other on many issues. Fifteen of the men present at the convention refused to sign, and some worked against the Constitution, whipping up public sentiment against it. They made many charges against it, including that it had no national Bill of Rights. They and the proponents of the Constitution debated for months afterward over the ratification of the document. But almost a year after the delegates in Philadelphia had signed the Constitution, it was finally ratified by the States. The country created a national Bill of Rights a few years later, by passing ten amendments.
It was not a perfect document. But Benjamin Franklin expressed his doubt about "whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an Assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does ... Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best." (Source: University of Chicago website)
I share Benjamin Franklin's astonishment that the system approaches so near to perfection as it does. I am also astonished that the system has lasted as long as it has. It is the oldest constitution still being used today. Truly a miracle occurred at Philadelphia on September 17, 1787; and the miracle lives on. I express my wish that the miracle will continue to live on, and express my love of the United States Constitution on its special anniversary day.
The Constitutional Convention