September 17, 1787 the Constitution was signed by 39 men who changed the history of the United States with the stroke of a pen. (And ratification of 9 states in 1788)Today, we celebrate a document that has really stood the test of time! I actually got to see the original document when I lived in DC and it was one of the coolest things ever! Most people don't really think about the Constitution on a daily basis. Unless you are a nerd like me and carry a pocket-sized document with you. I got in this habit when I was in high school on government team and we debated the Constitution, it has just carried over. Isn't it crazy to think that a document that was written so long ago still serves its purpose and has only had a Bill of Rights added (in order to more adequately outline individual rights) and 27 amendments. So, next time you are watching the news coverage, seeing pictures of war, voting, election coverage, you can think that all of those things are made possible because of an old document.
I decided I would leave you with 10 cool facts about the Constitution that I found from the website of The National Constitution Center.
1. The U.S. Constitution was written in the same Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington received his commission as Commander of the Continental Army. Now called Independence Hall, the building still stands today on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, directly across from the National Constitution Center.
2. Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed on September 17th. But it wasn't until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states.
3. The U.S. Constitution was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries.
4. Some of the original framers and many delegates in the state ratifying conventions were very troubled that the original Constitution lacked a description of individual rights. In 1791, Americans added a list of rights to the Constitution. The first ten amendments became known as The Bill of Rights
5. Of the 55 delegates attending the Constitutional Convention, 39 signed and 3 delegates dissented. Two of America's "founding fathers" didn't sign the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was representing his country in France and John Adams was doing the same in Great Britain.
6. Established on November 26, 1789, the first national "Thanksgiving Day" was originally created by George Washington as a way of "giving thanks" for the Constitution.
7. Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.
8. At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest.
9. The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping.
10. More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty three have gone to the states to be ratified and twenty seven have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become amendments to the Constitution