Friday, December 4, 2020
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September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia

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the assembled delegates adopted the final version of a document which began like this:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.

It is interesting to remember that the document which came out of the Committee on Style, chaired by Roger Sherman, had somehow left out one thing it had received, for no apparent reason.  Originally offered by Charles Pinckney of SC, it was moved from the floor and unanimously adopted by the convention, the last part of the Constitution, and critically important, found at the end of Article VI:

but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Please continue reading.

234 Years Ago Today

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The Virginia Convention of Delegates UNANIMOUSLY adopted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, drafted in March of 1776 by George Mason, with some assistance on the portion on religious freedom by James Madison.  It was later included in Article I of the Virginia Constitution, a modified version of which is in the current Virginia Constitution (drafted largely) by A. E. Dick Howard in 1971), which means it is still in effect.

Mason, a Founding Father who should be better known, later refused to sign the draft Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention, in part because it allowed the continuation of slavery, but also because it lacked a similar protection of rights against the power of the Federal government. The document adopted this day influenced both our Declaration of Independence and the drafting of our national Bill of Rights.

Please allow this teacher of government to high school students to explore the document with you.