September 17 is designated as Constitution Day, also known as Citizenship Day, to memorialize the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 by delegates to the Constitutional Convention. America’s first governing document was the Articles of Confederation, but it was insubstantial and states functioned like independent countries. At the 1787 convention, delegates created a plan for a stronger federal government with three branches (executive, legislative and judicial) together with a system of checks and balances, guaranteeing no one branch would dominate. Plus, the Constitution outlines an amendment process for making future change.
The Preamble summarizes the Constitution’s intent and principles. It reads:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Did you know George Washington was at first hesitant to go to the Constitutional Convention? While he understood the need for a stronger national government, he was working hard to manage Mount Vernon, suffering from rheumatism and concerned the convention wouldn’t reach its goals.
The framers (Founding Fathers) realized the Constitution was not perfect. But, as Benjamin Franklin said on the last day of the 1787 convention: ‘”I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such, because I think a central government is necessary for us… I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution.’”
To find out more about the U.S. Constitution, challenges to it, and how it applies to us today, check out some of the books in the library like:
Also, check out the Law Library for great reference resources such as:
For more information about Law Library materials, please visit us, call us at (804) 646-6500, or email us at email@example.com. And remember to Vote!