We the People
There are plenty of movies with plotlines centered around crafty masterminds trying to steal the Declaration of Independence (think National Treasure), but the Constitution does not often get to be in the spotlight. The Constitution is equally imperative to the foundation of America yet receives a fraction of the recognition. Without the Constitution, we would not have any of the laws or codes that help define our nation. With Constitution Day coming up, we felt it was the perfect time to celebrate the anniversary of the official signing of the Constitution and share some facts about this great American document.
The Constitution was finished and signed on September 17, 1787, but it took another year to be ratified by the states. It was created to replace the initial agreement among the states, the Articles of Confederation. The Constitutional Convention members, led by George Washington, felt the Articles were too weak and causing too much strife among and within the states because the federal government had no power. This was mostly due to a fear of tyranny as the nation had just become independent from Britain. In order to resolve that fear, the Tenth Amendment allows for people to overthrow tyrannical leaders.
Pennsylvania is misspelled in the Constitution and is spelled “Pensylvania” instead. This is the same way the state’s name is spelled on the Liberty Bell, so it may not seem like the misspelling was done in error. However, it is spelled “Pennsylvania” throughout the rest of the document.
Benjamin Franklin was one of six men who signed the Constitution who also signed the Declaration of Independence. At age 81, he was the oldest person to have signed the Constitution and was in such poor health that not only did he need to be carried into the convention center on chairs held by prisoners, he needed help signing the document.
Jacob Shallus penned the Constitution, which was roughly 4,500 words. This included the signatures, so Shallus wrote a little less than that. He wrote the entirety of the document for $30, which would be around $835 today.
Nine out of thirteen states needed to ratify the Constitution in order for it to pass. The main short falling of the document to most states was the lack of a Bill of Rights, which were soon added.