I lecture on the Constitution every semester, and I remind students that the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in the world today. I remain amazed when discussing the system of checks against tyranny our founders bequeathed to the nation. I recognize, too, that as imperfect a document it was when drafted, the Constitution's essential beauty has been its considerable flexibility to remedy the flaws which attended its birth.
Ed Williams reminds us of the significance of September 17 in an essay in today's Charlotte Observer:
The Declaration of Independence is often thought of as our nation's founding document. It wasn't.Read the rest. We have a lot to celebrate.
The declaration united the 13 colonies to fight for independence from Great Britain. It expressed some deeply meaningful thoughts (and a good deal of propaganda), but it said nothing about how the colonies would work together after independence.
The declaration was a stirring speech. It was not a binding contract.
Tomorrow our nation celebrates the 220th anniversary of the signing of the document that answered those questions: The Constitution of the United States. It was -- and is today -- the operating manual for our nation.