September 17th is one of the national holidays we choose to ignore. It’s Constitution Day. It’s the day Congress has set aside to honor the United States Constitution and commemorate its signing on September 17, 1787 by the delegates of the Constitutional Convention.
We all know about the Declaration of Independence when our founding fathers proclaimed that we had the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We all know about Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, reminding Americans that we have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
The United States Constitution is the document that guarantees our rights and answers the question: What kind of government is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people? The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.
And despite everything we might think, it’s pretty easy reading. It’s only 7591 words long which means it can be read in an hour.
Just to get you started, here’s the Preamble:
And though we haven’t always lived up to those words as a country, they still inspire us to be better.
I have learned two things about the Constitution. As we have added Amendments to those original words, we have asked the Constitution to do two things:
1.Limit the power of Government, and
2.Expand the Rights of Americans.
When we lose sight of those two things, we have go astray. Consider the 18th Amendment. It was the Prohibition Amendment that banned the sale of alcohol. in 1933, we had to admit “Ooops, We made a boo-boo” and ratified the 21st Amendment which meant the 18th Amendment was no longer law.
Today is the 234th anniversary of the signing of our Constitution. Maybe as a birthday present to the Constitution, we might read it. I know I will.
And if you’re looking for some helpful reading on the Constitution, here’s three excellent books:
The U.S. Constitution and Other Important American Documents (No Fear) by SparkNotes (A modern reading of the Constitution)
The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution by Linda R. Monk
The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide by Linda R. Monk