May 25, 1787, Freshly spread dirt covered the cobblestone street in front of the Pennsylvania State House, protecting the men inside from the sound of passing carriages and carts. Guards stood at the entrances to ensure that the curious were kept at a distance. Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, the “financier” of the Revolution, opened the proceedings with a nomination–Gen. George Washington for the presidency of the Constitutional Convention. The vote was unanimous. With characteristic ceremonial modesty, the general expressed his embarrassment at his lack of qualifications to preside over such an august body and apologized for any errors into which he might fall in the course of its deliberations.
To many of those assembled, especially to the small, boyish-looking, 36-year-old delegate from Virginia, James Madison, the general’s mere presence boded well for the convention, for the illustrious Washington gave to the gathering an air of importance and legitimacy. But his decision to attend the convention had been an agonizing one. The Father of the Country had almost remained at home.
Suffering from rheumatism, despondent over the loss of a brother, absorbed in the management of Mount Vernon, and doubting that the convention would accomplish very much or that many men of stature would attend, Washington delayed accepting the invitation to attend for several months. Torn between the hazards of lending his reputation to a gathering perhaps doomed to failure and the chance that the public would view his reluctance to attend with a critical eye, the general finally agreed to make the trip. James Madison was pleased.
With little or no fanfare, Sept.17, a day that honors the very document that gave the citizens of the United States its purpose and delivered assurances of freedoms came and went and most people didn’t notice. There were no three-day weekends, special ceremonies or even fireworks commemorating the document signed on Sept. 17, 1787. Not even one Facebook meme.
The above excerpt from www.archives.gov gives a peek into what must have been a tumultuous time in the lives of the men joined to give life to a constitution of the United States of America. Guards at the door, freshly spread dirt covering cobblestone streets. You can almost feel the tension. You are talking about a federation of states coming together as a nation to lay the groundwork for how their government would operate. The very way in which things operate today, 229 years later.
We live by the Constitution and in Navarre Press’ case, we exist by Freedom of the Press which is one of the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It’s our only license to publish. It allows us, even calls us to be part of the checks and balances of our government and our community.
Freedom of the Press encourages us to hold our elected officials and other leaders accountable for their actions. We serve as a deliverer of truth to the residents of our community – and all of that happens under the U.S. Constitution.
The preamble was written, giving our nation a purpose:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”
Written by and for the people of the United States. Why? To form a more perfect union by setting the rules and, as they said, securing the blessings of liberty.
We are so fortunate as a nation to enjoy those blessings of liberty every day.