Constitution still holds surprises

Published 8:09 am Wednesday, September 17, 2008

By Staff
My college roommate had the unique talent of being able to sing, to a tune she most likely learned on Saturday morning TV, the preamble of the Constitution - “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.”
Let's face it, after that, it gets a little boring.
The seven articles of the Constitution might not be riveting reading, but they've provided the plot to the greatest governmental experiment in history. Taken with the Bill of Rights and the other 17 amendments, they map the past, present and future of our country.
Today marks the 221st anniversary of the signing of the document that forms the basis of our government. While I don't expect many of us will be baking a cake to celebrate Constitution Day, it is worth pausing to reflect on it - and give thanks.
The Constitution isn't a perfect document. If it were, we would never have needed the Bill of Rights or the rest of the amendments. In fact, section 2 of Article I of the document stated that persons who were not free would only be counted as “three-fifths” of a person when determining the number of representatives each state could have. We corrected that later on, just one example of the Constitution's evolution as a living, breathing testament of the government Thomas Jefferson foreshadowed when he wrote the Declaration of Independence.
Speaking of Jefferson, did you know he never signed the Constitution? He was in France, representing the United States, when the Constitutional Convention met. John Adams was in Great Britain and never signed, either.
A few other facts from the National Constitution Center:

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