Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Happy Flag Day! Plus ironies of the Constitutional Convention and the Ninth Amendment.

   First, many thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday.

   The Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution was included in the Bill of Rights for a reason: to protect individual rights not enumerated in the Bill of Rights. I will blog on this more tomorrow in a piece on which I have been working for about a week. Maybe I am something of a geek, but I gain pleasure from reading about our country’s history, particularly that related to the Constitution.

   There are ironies in the ways in which the Constitution was written and in the delegates to what became the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787, held in Philadelphia.

   The charter for the delegates was to draft and propose amendments to The Articles of Confederation. The charter was not for wholesale abandonment of the Articles in favor of an entirely new system. The Articles had failed to effectively protect American citizens or American economic interests—the latter both internally and internationally. The delegates drafted a document that still, today, forms the basis of this republic.

   Not all of the 74 persons designated as delegates appeared at the convention. Only 54 did so. Rhode Island did not bother to send a delegation. Patrick Henry stayed home in Virginia, saying he "smelt a rat." Only 30 delegates were present throughout the convention from May to September. Others came and went as their businesses or other responsibilities demanded. Three delegates refused to sign the final product of the convention. (Two later relented.)

   The delegates all were white, male landowners. Some were of quite substantial means.

   As they met, during very hot months, they closed and covered with curtains the windows of the Statehouse (now called Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, so that the deliberations could be held in secret.

   At least 20 of the Framers claimed ownership over other human beings. Most were affluent. Some were quite wealthy. One, Aaron Burr, later shot and killed another former delegate (and first Secretary of the Treasury), Alexander Hamilton.

   This is Flag Day. There was no official American flag in 1787 when the Constitution was debated and drafted. This is an official day to celebrate the Stars and Stripes. I would rather contemplate the history of the country, in as accurate of a fashion as possible, than celebrate a symbol of the United States. You may celebrate in your way.I shall celebrate in mine. After all, this is the United States, where we are supposed to have the liberty to choose such matters.

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Comment by Mark Small on June 15, 2012 at 5:41am

Paul,

You are right. I had a brain fart and was focused on "The Star-Spangled Banner"---written during the War of 1812, but necessarily meaning the Stars-and-Stripes were early, back a ways. Mea culpa.--Mark.

Comment by paul wheeler on June 14, 2012 at 11:49am

'no official flag in 1787' ??   My info suggest the Flag Resolution of 1777 was settled by the Continental Congress which further explained the reason for the stars & stripes. 

I found a couple of links that were helpful to me on this subject. 

In any event, I don't understand the distinction you make to prefer to  'contemplate our history' vs. 'celebrate a symbol'.  For me, it is a great priviledge to do both, and according to our history, teachers & leaders feel the same priviledge in honoring our country. 

http://usflag.org/history/flagday.html

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_flag

 

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