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Why Did We Need our Constitution?

Kathy Kula, Contributor

After the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a constitution for the new United States was needed. However, the constitution that was written, the Articles of Confederation, proved wholly inadequate for the governing of this new nation. The evolutionary War was nearly lost as a result of

this document. After the war ended, the nation was slowly falling apart. Each state was treating the others as separate nations. They lacked unity in many ways. The Articles recognized no judicial system, and Congress was not strong enough to enforce laws. Congress lacked the authority to regulate interstate commerce or foreign trade. They had no power to tax which was crucial during the war in order to collect funds for the army. Each state had only one vote in Congress, regardless of its size. There was no executive branch to enforce any acts passed by Congress. Essentially, they were not “united” states. The new country looked on the verge of dissolving, and European nations were waiting in the wings to take possession of it! So, a constitutional convention was called to correct the deficiencies.

The convention met behind closed doors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from May through

September of 1787. It was a hot summer, but to maintain an environment of security where everyone

could speak freely, windows were kept closed and no “press releases” were allowed. The state

representatives that were sent were charged with simply suggesting changes and corrections to the

Articles of Confederation. All of the states sent their legally authorized representatives, except Rhode

Island, who refused to participate. Upon gathering, a quorum of delegates recognized in spite of their

clearly defined duties regarding the Articles, that as the legal representatives of the states and people,

they had authority to set aside the Articles and create an entirely new constitution due to so many fatal

flaws in the document. Luckily, these were honorable men who sought to represent the God-given

blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity, and they created a government unique among all

others. They were well educated in history and the many forms of government which have existed.

There were many boisterous debates during the ratification period. The ratification process was almost

doomed until a commitment to create a bill of rights for the Constitution was made. With that, the new

constitution was ratified, the national government was formed, a constitutional republic, and Congress

began work on a bill of rights.

With a constitution that has lasted nearly 250 years, it is the longest running constitution in

history. Let us honor it on September 17th !

*Note- There will be a FREE community-wide celebration on September 16th in Freeman Park.

Find more information HERE.

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