Legislator Allport reflects on ‘Constitution Day’
‘We the People,’ the most famous phrase in the world’s most famous document, The Constitution of the United States of America’, sent a message of freedom and unity to the world. On September 17, 1787 the Constitution was signed, by 12 of the 13 states, and sent to the states for ratification.
Of the 74 delegates invited to the Philadelphia Convention, at Freedom Hall, to adopt a constitution, only 55 attended and only 39 of them signed the most powerful document in the history of the world. The great historians of the time, in world governments, created our representative form of government, at a time when the world only knew of kings and dictators.
This great experiment in government as some came to know it, has produced the most prosperous and the strongest nation the world has known or will ever know. We should all take a moment and try to put ourselves in the place of the people who stepped forward at that time for the cause of freedom.
In 1776, when the colonies declared their independence from England only one third of the people in the colonies were in favor of this, according to John Adams. The men and women who stepped forward to fight for our freedom, were in the minority and going up against the most powerful nation in the world at the time.
The sun never set on the British Empire. They risked it all, their lives, loss of family and friends and all their wealth for ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ They believed these rights came from God and not from man. How much would you be willing to risk for freedom?
The cause of freedom was clearly spelled out in a book by Thomas Paine in January of 1776, ‘Common Sense,’ which is still relevant today. He wrote this book to explain the reasons to support freedom so the average person would understand. At the time, books were written for those with higher education and the upper classes. Most people of the time, because of economic status, had no so called formal education, that was only for the wealthy.
This book was one of the first demonstrations of the uniqueness of America. The removal of status lines between the rich and the poor, the equality of all. In the early days of our country a French Ambassador wrote home that in America you can not tell the rich from the poor by their clothes. In America, we are all Americans and equal under the law.
On March 4, 1789 the Constitution was ratified by the states and became the law of the land. Virginia held out signing, demanding there be a Bill of Rights for the people. When it was agreed to create these rights, then Virginia ratified. The first 10 amendments, Bill of Rights, was adopted by the states in 1791. James Madison, a very physically small man, extremely quiet and shy, who suffered from constant illnesses, was the strong driving force for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Without his determination and persuasion, neither document might have succeeded in being ratified.
We should all try and put ourselves in the place of the men that stepped forward to declare independence, the wives that stayed home to run the farms and businesses, raise the families for months and years alone. They risked it all. How much would you be willing to risk to preserve your freedoms? Freedom is not free and takes an ever vigilant and righteous citizenry to keep hold of it.
Now more than ever we need to stand by the Constitution to defend our God given rights of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ which makes our form of government unique in the world. The attacks on our way of life are more numerous than ever and come from within and outside our great nation. Are you willing to give up your rights and become a slave to big government or will you make a stand to defend our Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
As President Ronald Reagan stated: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”