Indeed, we should celebrate Constitution Day, Sept. 17, as recommended by local American Legion Cmdr. William Bickley this week in the Daily Herald. But let's make sure we know the details surrounding the events of 1787. From 12 of the 13 colonies (Rhode Island opted out) 74 delegates were originally elected to attend what became known as the Constitutional Convention. Patrick Henry, a noted patriot, was one of those who declined to serve in that capacity. Of the 74, only 55 actually showed up to begin their momentous task.
When initial deliberations made clear that each colony would have to give up some authority to the central government, 16 more delegates walked out of the convention. So, only 39, not 55, delegates were signatories to the Constitution. The seeds for modern-day states' rights/Tea Party/libertarian dissent were sown way back then.
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It is also fitting to remember that the signed Constitution still had to be ratified by the 13 separate colony states. Over 1,600 delegates gathered in separate state conventions to vote on ratification. In some states the vote was tight: 30 yes to 27 no in New York, and 34 yes to 32 no in Rhode Island. Only in Delaware, New Jersey and Georgia were the votes unanimous for ratification. The final tally was 1,071 for ratification, 577 against.
John Adams has been quoted as saying the Constitutional Convention was "the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen." That goes for the ratifying process as well. All worthy of being memorialized.