Saturday, July 2, 2011

We the People

Happy Birthday USA! We celebrate July 4thas the start of our nation. More correctly, it was the official start of the rebellion with the Declaration of Independence. We would not be the United States of America until nine out of the 13 states had ratified the United States Constitution. The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787. However, it stipulated that it had to be ratified by 9 of the 13 states before it would take effect. Some states were concerned that the Constitution did not specifically reserve powers not mentioned in the document for the states. The Bill of Rights was proposed as a solution. If these states would ratify the document, they were assured that the Bill of Rights would be quickly passed. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. On September 25, 1789, the first Congress of the United States adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution--the Bill of Rights--and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of these amendments were ratified in 1791.

The point of the brief history lesson is that the whole process from inception to the start of the first congress was based on representation. The US Constitution starts with the phrase “We the people…” Not we the chosen, we the wealthy, we the powerful, or even we the elect, but we the people. Elected representatives wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence. Elected representatives wrote and signed the Constitution. Elected representatives in all 13 colonies eventually ratified the Constitution. And finally, elected representatives voted on the Bill of Rights. All were elected representatives from their respective colonies. The men that signed these documents put their lives and fortunes in peril. Had they been captured by the British, they would have been tried for treason and hanged. Had they lost the revolutionary war, they would have lost all.
My challenge to all of you is to learn more about your country. A good place to start is at the links in the article above. And during the next election, learn about the candidates and issues and vote. To remain we the people, we the people have to participate.

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