Conflict in American politics has grown deeper, especially in this presidential election year. That makes the U.S. Constitution even more important, but too many Americans seem to know little about their government and the political process.
The annual Constitution Week started last Thursday. The week recognizes the importance of a document that established the United States as a self-governing nation with the rule of law. The Daughters of the American Revolution pushed for this recognition after celebrating the Constitution annually for many years. Congress set aside the week of Sept. 17-23 for this purpose, and the law was signed in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower. The DAR’s Casa Grande Valley Chapter has continued to highlight the Constitution during the annual week with materials for schools. Area cities proclaim the week.
In 1928 the DAR began work on a building as a memorial to the Constitution. John Russell Pope, architect of the Jefferson Memorial, was commissioned to design a performing arts center, DAR Constitution Hall. It was the first structure erected in tribute to the U.S. Constitution.
The DAR’s stated goals during the week are to emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting the document, inform people that it is the basis for their nation’s great heritage and encourage the study of events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.
The organization’s members are women who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, and they seek to carry on the goals of those patriots.
Our republic’s Constitution is the oldest document still in active use that outlines a people’s self-government. It was written to protect every American from the abuse of power by government. The framers believed in the right to live and work, free from tyranny. The colonists had fought for their freedoms, and the Constitution protects those, especially with the Bill of Rights and other amendments.
The framers set the tone in the Constitution’s Preamble: “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 Constitution has stood the test of time. It allowed for changes, but only 27 have been made in the form of amendments. Three are directly concerned with ensuring the right to vote.
Americans should take a little time to think about the Constitution and perhaps get to know more about it.