We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

John W. Eyster: Constitution Day marked Sunday

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By John Eyster
Monday, September 18, 2017

Sunday, the 17th of September was our U.S. Constitution Day!  It was the 230th anniversary of the signing of our US Constitution in 1787 after the long, hot summer in Philadelphia.  If you want to learn about the realities of that summer, I recommend David O. Stewart's The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution. This is a dynamic book which takes us into the sweltering room in which the founders struggled for four months to produce the Constitution. The process was very painful for the founders with hard conflicts and hard bargaining. Today it is the oldest written Constitution in the world!

On September 17, 1787, the document was signed and sent to the states for ratification. Thanks to the Anti-federalists, that document got Ten Amendments – called “The Bill of Rights” – immediately after it was ratified and the US Congress passed the resolution for amending the US Constitution. Do YOU know YOUR rights protected in “The Bill of Rights”? IF you do NOT know your rights, YOU may lose them! Forewarned is forearmed! If you want to learn more about the benefits we gained through the Anti-federalist movement, I recommend Jackson Turner Main's The Anti-Federalists: Critics of the Constitution, 1781-1788. I know this book well because I was Graduate Assistant to Dr. Main when he was guest professor at The University of Maryland, College Park, MD. This was one of the textbooks for his course.  Yes, he is the grandson of the famous history professor, Frederick Jackson Turner who authored the “frontier theory” while professor at UW-Madison from 1890-1910.

Fulfilling the mandate of federal law to observe US Constitution Day in all schools receiving federal tax money, I have long used the PREAMBLE of the US Constitution to discuss the key motivators of our founders in 1787. My students have a written memory assignment on the text of the PREAMBLE and then we discuss that text. To remind you, the PREAMBLE text is:

"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."

CONSIDER the key motivators identified in the PREAMBLE. It is very important that our US Supreme Court has ruled that this PREAMBLE is part and parcel of the US Constitution with the identification of the PURPOSES of the government which help clarify Constitutional issues.

IF you are a STAR TREK fan, you can click on this link to see Captain Kirk making a VERY DRAMATIC presentation of the PREAMBLE from YouTube, “Captain Kirk introduces the PREAMBLE of the US Constitution.” Note: This VERY DRAMATIC presentation by Captain Kirk attests to the significance of the meaning of the PREAMBLE. 

YESTERDAY was a day of THANKSGIVING that the US Constitution was completed and signed on CONSTITUTION DAY on Sunday, September 17, 1787, 230 years ago and then RATIFIED so that in 1789 it went into effect as the CONSTITUTION of the United States of America.

Here we go…

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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