By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, US Daily Review
This month on September 17, 2011 we had our annual Constitution Day Celebration. For that important date, here are some important facts about our founding document:
- The Constitution has 4,400 words. It is the oldest and the shortest written constitution of any major government in the world.
- Thomas Jefferson — considered among the most famous of our Founding Fathers — did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Constitutional Convention, where he served as the US minister. John Adams, meanwhile, was US minister to Great Britain, was also unavailable to attend.
- When the Constitution was signed the entire US population was a mere 4 million, today it is 312 million.
- James Madison — deemed as the “Father of the Constitution,” was one of the first ones to arrive at the Convention in Philadelphia. He brought with him the framework for the new Constitution.
- George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents to sign the Constitution.
- The Constitution was “penned” by Jacob Shallus, who was a Pennsylvania General Assembly Clerk, for the modest sum of $30 ($738 today).
- Due to his poor health, Benjamin Franklin actually needed help to sign the Constitution. When he did this, tears flowed from his eyes.
- The oldest person to sign this Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81); while the youngest was 26 year old Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey.
- Patrick Henry was elected as one of the delegates to the Convention, but declined saying he “smelt a rat.” The new Constitution would certainly be far more powerful in the role of government than the one he had envisioned or was under with the Articles of Confederation.
- Since 1952, the Constitution has been at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC and has been on display. All four pages are currently displayed behind protective glass cases framed with titanium. In order to help preserve it, the cases contain argon gas and are kept at 67 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 40 percent
- The Constitution does not address the requirements to be allowed to vote. Today, many point at how the Constitution originally discriminated against minorities and women. In reality, voting was restricted to property owning males. This actually prevented roughly 90 percent of the white population from having a right to vote.
- For six months we had no national government — from November 1788 until April 1789 when the Congress of the Confederation adjourned and (in April) the Constitutional Convention convened with its first quorum.
- The term “democracy” does not appear in the Constitution. The term used was “republic,” and it was also the word used by every President until the 2oth century.
- Vermont ratified the Constitution on January 10, 1791, even before it had become an official state.
- John Adams referred to the Constitution as “the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen” and George Washington wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette that “It (the Constitution) appears to me, then, little short of a miracle.”
If you would like to read the entire Constitution, click here. Consider encouraging others to learn about the miracle called the US Constitution.