Today we celebrate the 225th anniversary of Constitution Day — the day at the end of the constitutional convention at which the convention officially adopted, and its members signed, the Constitution they would then submit to conventions in each of the several states for ratification. The great British statesman W.E. Gladstone called it “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.” (Of course, the Bible is a much more wonderful work, but it developed over centuries, not “at a given time.”) If you haven’t read a book about that extraordinary summer of effort by the extraordinary collection of men of distinction and sometimes genius, I highly recommend that you do so. Three that come to mind are Catherine Drinker Bowen’s Miracle at Philadelphia, the Collier brothers’ Decision in Philadelphia, and A Brilliant Solution, by Carol Berkin.
I stand in awe today of James Madison, Roger Sherman, Gouverneur Morris, James Wilson, George Mason, John Dickinson, Ben Franklin, Robert Morris, William Paterson, Rufus King, George Washington and the others who labored so mightly to create such a lasting and principled compact of self-government. May we always celebrate them — and, too, may we always protect their work.
It is worth quoting another great traditionalist, Richard M. Weaver, to remind us what is at stake:
The past shows unvaryingly that when a people’s
freedom disappears, it goes not with a bang, but in silence
amid the comfort of being cared for. That is the dire peril in
the present trend toward statism. If freedom is not found
accompanied by a willingness to resist, and to reject favors,
rather than to give up what is intangible but precarious, it
will not long be found at all.*
Let us not succumb to the “comfort of being cared for,” but rather, let us stand up and work hard to secure the freedoms that come from God that are protected by the Constitution. Let us not allow anyone in power to take those freedoms from us.
* I was introduced to the work of Richard Weaver, by the way, by my godfather, Ben C. Toledano. In addition to this being Constitution Day, it is also Ben C.’s birthday, so I hereby wish him a Happy Birthday and thank him for his enlightenment over the years.
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