Arguably the most important document for civil rights in the United States is the U.S. Constitution.
Today is a very important day in our nation’s history. Today is Constitution Day.
Spend a few minutes reading that very important document which has so successfully governed our great nation for over two centuries!
I hope you will enjoy the following facts about the U.S. Constitution and the Framers from www.constitutionfacts.com
United States (U.S.) Founding Fathers
The U.S. Constitution brought together, in one remarkable document, ideas from many people and several existing documents, including the Articles of Confederation and Declaration of Independence. Those who made significant intellectual contributions to the Constitution are called the “Founding Fathers” of our country.
Many of the United States Founding Fathers were at the Constitutional Convention, where the Constitution was hammered out and ratified. George Washington, for example, presided over the Convention. James Madison, also present, wrote the document that formed the model for the Constitution.
Other U.S. Founding Fathers were not there, but made significant contributions in other ways. Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, was serving as ambassador to France at the time of the Convention. He kept abreast of the proceedings in Philadelphia by carrying on correspondence with James Madison. John Adams, as ambassador to Great Britain, wrote “Defense of the Constitution of the Government of the United States of America.” Thomas Paine wrote the influential pamphlet “Common Sense,” which immeasurably influenced the philosophy reflected in the Declaration of Independence. One of the U.S. Founding Fathers, Patrick Henry, was initially opposed to the very idea of the Constitution! He wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation, the predecessor to the Constitution. However, when an agreement was made to add a “bill of rights” to the Constitution, Henry fought hard for its ratification.
The term “framers” is sometimes used to specify those who helped “craft” the Constitution. “Founding Fathers” often refers to people who contributed to the development of independence and nationhood. However, the notion of a “framer” or a “Founding Father” is not easily defined. For purposes of this website, “Founding Fathers” are individuals who had a significant impact on the Constitution either directly or indirectly. The following list is by no means complete, but it does identify people who played a large role in the development of the Constitution at this crucial time in American history.
Fascinating Facts about the U.S. Constitution
The U.S. Constitution has 4,400 words. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world."
Of the spelling errors in the Constitution, “Pensylvania” above the signers’ names is probably the most glaring.
Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention, where he served as the U.S. minister. John Adams was serving as the U.S. minister to Great Britain during the Constitutional Convention and did not attend either.
The Constitution was “penned” by Jacob Shallus, A Pennsylvania General Assembly clerk, for $30 ($726 today).
Since 1952, the Constitution has been on display in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Currently, all four pages are displayed behind protective glass framed with titanium. To preserve the parchment’s quality, the cases contain argon gas and are kept at 67 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 40 percent.
Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17, the anniversary of the day the framers signed the document.
The Constitution does not set forth requirements for the right to vote. As a result, at the outset of the Union, only male property-owners could vote. African Americans were not considered citizens, and women were excluded from the electoral process. Native Americans were not given the right to vote until 1924.
James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” was the first to arrive in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. He arrived in February, three months before the convention began, bearing the blueprint for the new Constitution.
Of the forty-two delegates who attended most of the meetings, thirty-nine actually signed the Constitution. Edmund Randolph and George Mason of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts refused to sign due in part due to the lack of a bill of rights.
When it came time for the states to ratify the Constitution, the lack of any bill of rights was the primary sticking point.
The Great Compromise saved the Constitutional Convention, and, probably, the Union. Authored by Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman, it called for proportional representation in the House, and one representative per state in the Senate (this was later changed to two.) The compromise passed 5-to-4, with one state, Massachusetts, “divided.”
Patrick Henry was elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but declined, because he “smelt a rat.”
Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face.
Gouverneur Morris was largely responsible for the “wording” of the Constitution, although there was a Committee of Style formed in September 1787.
The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81). The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).
When the Constitution was signed, the United States’ population was 4 million. It is now more than 309 million. Philadelphia was the nation’s largest city, with 40,000 inhabitants.
A proclamation by President George Washington and a congressional resolution established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789. The reason for the holiday was to give “thanks” for the new Constitution.