Monthly Archives: August 2016

Happy 229th Birthday!


On Friday, September 16th, there will be Constitution Day Constitution Signing Event in the lobby of ATEC from 10 to 12. You will be able to sign a Mock Constitution. With signing, you will be entered to win a cash prize.
Seeing the poster for this event got me thinking about the Constitution and its importance.
The United States Constitution will be 229 years old on September 17th. When the Constitution was signed in 1787, the young nation had just won the American Revolution four years earlier. The United States did have a constitution but the Articles of Confederation was weak. The Articles had been ratified in 1781 and it allowed each state to operate like an independent country. In 1787, it was realized that a stronger constitution was needed and Alexander Hamilton invited representatives from all 13 states to meet in Philadelphia for a constitutional convention. There were 55 delegates from 12 states who spent a hot summer debating issues. The end product, our Constitution, devised three branches of government—executive, legislative and judicial – and a system of checks and balances so no one branch would have too much power.
The Constitution has 4400 words. It is the shortest and oldest Constitution of any major government in the world.
It does not set requirements for voting. In 1789, only male property owners could vote. African-American men would be allowed to vote with the 15th Amendment and all women with the 19th Amendment.
There have only been 27 amendments added to the original Constitution.
There was concern that the large states would have too much power and the small states too little. The Great Compromise saved the Convention. The Compromise called for proportional representation based on population in the House and one representative per state in the Senate. This was later changed to two representatives from each state.
There was a question as to how to address the President. The Senate proposed “His Highness the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties. “ As is often the case, a compromise was needed (!!!) and it was decided to call him the “President of the United States.
Here’s a trivia fact that I hope you know. The Central Penn Library has books about the Constitution. A number of them are on display on the top shelves of the book shelves on your right as you enter the library.