Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Happy 225th Birthday, U.S. Constitution!
By Heritage Foundation @ 8:54 PM :: 3662 Views :: National News

Happy 225th Birthday, U.S. Constitution!

by Rich Tucker, Heritage Foundation, March 4, 2014

One day after a snowstorm shut down D.C., Congress is back in session today. Its hearings might not make much news, but March 4 is actually an astonishing anniversary. It was 225 years ago that the Constitution officially came into effect, when members of Congress were sworn in for the first time in New York City.

They didn’t have what today might be called a quorum, though. Only nine (out of an elected 22) senators and 13 (out of an elected 59) representatives were on hand that day. Furthermore, only 11 of the 13 states had ratified the Constitution at that time.

The sparsely attended session marked the beginning of a noble, and uniquely successful, experiment. The U.S. has the oldest national Constitution in continuous use. It successfully set up a republican democracy to govern a continental nation. In the centuries since, the Constitution has endured through economic booms and busts, and survived wars at home and abroad.

The Constitution’s very staying power is noteworthy. Since the end of World War II, at least 188 countries have drafted at least 729 versions of constitutions, while we’ve made only minor changes to ours through a constitutionally-provided amendment process. Our Constitution is unique in its simplicity, and uniquely effective.

Ironically, one of the first orders of business under the Constitution was to begin changing the Constitution. A number of states had insisted that a Bill of Rights should be added, and the members of Congress (led by Rep. James Madison) got to work writing that.

They eventually drafted 12 amendments and, in September of 1789, sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of those became the Bill of Rights. An eleventh, saying that congressional pay couldn’t be changed until after an election had intervened, waited for more than 200 years. It didn’t become the 27th Amendment until it was ratified in 1992.

George Washington, the first president, wasn’t on hand in March of 1789. It took longer than expected to count the Electoral Votes, so his swearing-in didn’t happen until late April.


See also: The Formation of the Constitution

See also: Securing Liberty: The Purpose and Importance of the Bill of Rights


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii