Constitution Day!!

Each year on September 17th we celebrate Constitution Day which is a celebration of the signing of the US constitution in 1787 (it was officially ratified by the states in 1788 but let’s not get too technical here). As I am sure you know the Constitution is the supreme law in the United States. The framework for our country was established through the constitution. Since its inception it has been amended 27 times which roughly balances out to an amendment every 8.4 years.

The first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and address two major concerns of the founding fathers; protecting individual freedom and the balance of power between the states, federal government, and the people. The Bill of Rights was added into the constitution in 1791 and cover important subjects such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The amendments that follow in the constitution range a variety of subjects; including voting rights, prohibition and the ratification of that amendment, and abolishing slavery.

Here are some fun facts about the constitution and the amendments that followed.

  • The 27th amendment was first introduced on September 15th, 1789. Yes- you read that correctly. 1789. It was finally ratified on May 7th, 1992 which means that it took OVER 200 years to get passed. The next longest passage took almost 4 years so that is one big time difference
  • The Constitution was penned by a man named Jacob Shallus for $30 a day (now would be over $700 a day)
  • The Constitution was written in secret, behind closed doors that were guarded by sentries (Think like this but you know… not British)
  • There are various spelling errors in the Constitution but the most obvious one is the misspelling of “Pensylvania” right above the signatures
  • There have been over 500 proposed amendments to change the electoral college system of election we still have today but none of them have been successful
  • The first national Thanksgiving Day was established for November 26th, 1789 by George Washington as a way to give thanks for the Constitution
  • Over 11,000 amendments have been introduced to Congress but only 27 of them have passed. That’s approximately .0024% approval rate

We asked some of our financial aid counselors to see what they thought the post important aspects of the Constitution was. Their responses ranged over various fundamental elements to amendments.

Shannon Glaser, one of our Associate Directors stated the most important elements would be the 19th amendment which prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on sex and the 21st amendment which was the repeal of prohibition. That’s good news for Shannon since if you recall she brews her own line of beers.

Rae Daniel, one of our financial aid counselors said the 15th amendment which prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on race, color, or the previous condition of servitude.

Ned Konin is rather fond of the third amendment which prohibited the quartering of soldier’s in private homes without the owner’s consent during peacetime. It’s a rare one but who are we to judge.

Mady Scolnick had a few items on her list. She thinks in the original constitution the checks and balances system that was created with the three different branches of government was incredibly important for shaping our country. She also is fond of the 19th amendment like Shannon which granted women the right to vote and the 1st amendment which grants freedom of speech, press, religion, and the right to assemble.

So which part of the constitution do you hold nearest and dearest to your heart? Send us your thoughts here, via Twitter or by email (contact scolnickm@wit.edu) for a chance to win a cool prize!

Thanks for tuning in- see you next time!!!

-MS

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