Happy Constitution Day! On September 17, 1787, the 39 delegates and convention secretary to the Constitutional Convention, in the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, signed and ratified this founding document. It created the three branches of the US government we have today: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. Six Founders signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, George Read, James Wilson, and Roger Sherman.
On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was added onto the Constitution. WSAJ’s work focuses the most on the Seventh Amendment:
Many groups throughout the state are holding Constitution Day events. A few highlights from the Seattle area include:
- Seattle University School of Law’s Constitution Day: “Constitutional Lessons from Ferguson”
- South Seattle Community College Constitution Day presentation
- University of Washington Constitution Day
- The document is the oldest and shortest national constitution in the world, at only 4,400 words, and contains numerous spelling errors, including misspelled state names.
- It went through many iterations, including initially a clause that would have abolished slavery after 20 years and a listing of the 13 states (instead of saying “United States”) in the opening. This was the first time the term “The United States of America” was ever formally used.
- Over 11,000 amendments have been proposed, but only 27 have succeeded.
- The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin, at 81, and the youngest was Jonathan Dayton, at 26. The median age in America at the time was 16.
- The first national Thanksgiving was established by President George Washington to give thanks to the Constitution.
- Most of the signers were lawyers and all had held public office.