The US Constitution

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CHEROKEE COUNTY – The Major Thaddeus Beall Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), is urging area residents to join them in observing Constitution Week, Sept. 17-23, in commemoration of America's most important document.

The local chapter normally meets monthly in Jacksonville, September through May.

The United States Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties, freedoms and inalienable rights.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution urges Americans to reflect on the United States Constitution during this month’s annual observance in honor this foundational document of national governance according to a release posted last month on the NSDAR web page.

“There are two documents of paramount importance to American history: the Declaration of Independence, which forged our national identity, and the United States Constitution, which set forth the framework for the federal government that functions to this day,” said DAR President General Denise Doring VanBuren.

“While Independence Day is a well-recognized and beloved national holiday, fewer people know about Constitution Week, an annual commemoration of the living document that upholds and protects the freedoms central to our American way of life," she said.

The DAR initiated the annual observance in 1955, when the service organization petitioned the U.S. Congress to dedicate September 17–23 of each year to the commemoration of Constitution Week. Congress adopted the resolution, and on August 2, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into Public Law #915.

The celebration’s goals are threefold: To encourage the study of the historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787; to remind the public that the Constitution is the basis of America’s great heritage and the foundation for its way of life; and to emphasize U.S. citizens’ responsibility to protect, defend and preserve the U.S. Constitution.

DAR has been the foremost advocate for the awareness, promotion and celebration of Constitution Week. The annual observance provides innumerable opportunities for educational initiatives and community outreach, two mission areas of crucial importance to the National Society. By fostering knowledge of, and appreciation for, the Constitution and the inalienable rights it affords to all Americans, DAR helps to keep alive the memory of the men and women who secured our nation’s foundational liberties.

“In communities across America, Daughters will erect hundreds of community displays, sponsor municipal proclamations, ring bells and stage programs to raise awareness of the Constitution’s tenets and importance. We invite everyone to join us in celebrating this powerful document, which has enabled our democracy within a republic for more than two centuries. We hope that all Americans will learn more about the Constitution and its immense impact on our nation,” VanBuren said.

One of the largest patriotic women’s organizations in the world, DAR has more than 185,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters across the country and several foreign countries. DAR members promote historic preservation, education and patriotism via commemorative events, scholarships and educational initiatives, citizenship programs, service to veterans, meaningful community service and more. For additional information about DAR and its relevant mission, visit www.dar.org.

The United States Constitution was signed in a convention held May 25-September 17, 1787, in the State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified by June 21, 1788, by two-thirds of the states and took effect in 1789. The Constitutional Convention came about through a series of events because by 1786 the original Articles of Confederation established in 1781 had proved to be unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons.

The first ten amendments to the U. S. Constitution that became known as “The Bill of Rights” were fully ratified by December 15, 1791.

The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution—the document’s famous first fifty-two words— introduces everything that follows in the Constitution’s seven articles and twenty-seven amendments:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The Preamble was placed in the Constitution during the last days of the Constitutional Convention by the Committee on Style, which wrote its final draft, with Gouverneur Morris (b.1752 d.1816) of Pennsylvania leading the effort.

The first and second amendments seem to be the most mentioned in news articles pertaining to the upcoming national, state, and local election on November 3, 2020.

First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

A careful reading of the First Amendment reveals that it protects several basic liberties – freedom of religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly. Interpretation of the amendment is far from easy, as court case after court case has tried to define the limits of these freedoms.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the individual right to keep and bear arms. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Amendment 5 is frequently referenced in phrases like “pleading the 5th” or “taking the 5th!”

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy for life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, or be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”