My Take on This Day in History

I’m tired of simply copying and pasting long passages from the History.com website – fascinating as most of the tidbits I choose may be. What’s needed here is a dose of Bulldog commentary, the kind that makes the historical tidbit in question that much more interesting to read. Henceforth, when you plotz in front of your computer with your favorite morning beverage (and I hope it isn’t bourbon) you’ll get a dose of canine sense only The Bulldog can dispense.

A Grand and Glorious Blueprint

What a perfect anniversary for the times in which we live! On this day in 1788:

New Hampshire becomes the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land.

By 1786, defects in the post-Revolutionary War Articles of Confederation were apparent, such as the lack of central authority over foreign and domestic commerce. Congress endorsed a plan to draft a new constitution, and on May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention convened at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. On September 17, 1787, after three months of debate moderated by convention president George Washington, the new U.S. constitution, which created a strong federal government with an intricate system of checks and balances, was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the convention. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.

In the not-so-humble opinion of this scrivener, the U.S. Constitution is at once the most perfect AND the most imperfect blueprint for government ever devised by the minds of mortal men.

It is perfect because it masterfully divides the federal government into three parts and then carefully enumerates the powers and authority of each part while establishing checks and balances that prevent one part from dominating the other two.

How then could it be imperfect? Look around you today: Congress has become a revenue-ravenous beast, the Supreme Court is divided between Liberal activists and Conservative originalists; the Executive branch is literally ruled by a closet despot who labors under delusion of imperium. As I noted in a previous post, the lynchpin of the Constitution is the fact that it was “…designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” It is a sentiment that is expounded upon in an eloquent passage of unknown authorship that has been erroneously attributed to Tocqueville:

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great. (emphasis added)

If the Constitution is indeed crumbling from decay, let us not blame those who infest the nation’s capital, my fellow Americans… let us instead blame ourselves, for we are the ones who put them there. This is, after all, a representative Republic.

Beginning on December 7, five states–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut–ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. In June, Virginia ratified the Constitution, followed by New York in July.

A similar opportunity now presents itself to the Tea Party movement in New Jersey. As matters stand today, the Garden State  is home to dozens of Tea Party organizations (one source estimates the number at around seventy) – all of which are independent and autonomous – a good thing to a point, just as the individual sovereignty of the original 13 states was a good thing…to a point.

Had they remained separate and autonomous “mini-republics,” there is little doubt the original 13 states would eventually have been picked off one at a time by Britain and France – the superpowers of the late 18th century. True unity was needed and the Constitution became the grand and glorious instrument of that unity.

The same holds true for the Tea Party movement in New Jersey. In that spirit I appeal to every Tea Party organization in the Garden State:

For your own sake and the sake of your legacy, join together. Individually, you are each and every one vulnerable to the political superpowers that dominate the landscape of this state. But if you are united, you will together become a force to be reckoned with by an Establishment that will have no choice but to offer deference and respect.

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