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constitutionAfter something has been around for over 200 years, you might start to take it for granted.

As I read this article by Dallin H Oaks, a former state supreme court justice, I discovered some of the amazing events that took place, that lead up to our living in this free country.

The first thing noted was

The United States Constitution was the first written constitution in the world. It has served Americans well, enhancing freedom and prosperity during the changed conditions of more than two hundred years. Frequently copied, it has become the United States’ most important export. After two centuries, every nation in the world except six have adopted written constitutions, 2  and the U.S. Constitution was a model for all of them.

I think that fact alone should show how important and blessed we are to have this as the basis for our government.

Something else I didn’t understand was the conditions the people were living in at that time.

Economically and politically, the country was alarmingly weak. The states were in a paralyzing depression. Everyone was in debt. The national treasury was empty. Inflation was rampant. The various currencies were nearly worthless. The trade deficit was staggering. Rebelling against their inclusion in New York State, prominent citizens of Vermont had already entered into negotiations to rejoin the British crown. In the western territory, Kentucky leaders were speaking openly about turning from the union and forming alliances with the Old World.

It’s no wonder that George Washington used the word “Miracle” in describing the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.

It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the delegates from so many different states (which states you know are also different from each other in their manners, circumstances, and prejudices) should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well-founded objections.” 3

In expressing his views in relations to the challenge of coming together as delegates in agreement to the drafting of the constitution, Benjamin Franklin said.

When you assemble a number of men to have the advantage over their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests,and their selfish views. From such an assembly can perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good.”

Think on the words of James Madison in the preface to his notes on the Constitutional Convention

There never was an assembly of men, charged with great and arduous trust, who were more pure in their motives, or more exclusively or anxiously devoted to the object committed to them.” 

This holiday weekend, as we celebrate our U.S. Independence Day, let’s take a moment to appreciate the miracle that came about so that we could truly be free, and feel gratitude for these men who were willing to work and compromise and eventually to ratify our U.S. Constitution.

For more information on this subject, I encourage you to read the article The Divinely Inspired Constitution by Dallin H Oaks

1 Comment

  1. Arnold Miller

    Truly a miraulous outcome, divine intervention and inspiration brought about this document, our Constitution as well as it’s precedant the Declaration of Independence. A blessed nation was born. In spite of it’s flaws it is still the greatest nation ever formed. Men may try to contravene it to their own will, but ultimately, it will prevail.

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