This weekend, many will check their calendars to make plans around football games and school events and will notice that Saturday, September 17 is Constitution Day. It is a holiday that a lot of people don’t realize exists, but nonetheless, it is an important day to commemorate in respect to our nation’s history.
This year, Constitution Day marks the 229th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, which remains America’s most important document regarding not only its founding, but its existence and success today. On September 17, 1787, the 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time in Philadelphia to sign the document that they had created, the document that would establish the government of the United States and outline the rights of its people.
Not only was the Constitution essential for determining that the United States would be a representative democracy, made up by the three branches of government—legislative, executive, and judicial—but it was also an extremely symbolic measure. Although the United States declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776, the American Revolutionary War continued for many years. The adoption of the Constitution was the true symbol of separation from Great Britain, demonstrating that the young country of America could successfully establish its own working government.
Certainly, the Constitution is a historical document, but it lives on today, over two centuries after its implementation. As society has evolved exponentially since the era of our Founding Fathers, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution to reflect this quickly changing world. However, regardless of how the manuscript is understood, there is no dispute over the values and principles upon which this country was founded—liberty, justice, and equality.
It is important as the United States and its people develop and modernize to reflect back on these values. They are crucial for our country’s continued success, to take our roots and underlying foundations and apply them to the way we vote and govern today. As Americans, we cannot forget where we came from and must remember that we fought for the values of liberty, justice, and democracy for all.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.