[music] September 17! On this day, in 1787, the founding fathers signed the United States Constitution in Philadelphia. Today we recognize Constitution Day this week and we honor Declaration of Independence during
Celebration of Freedom Week. The Declaration of Independence which we
celebrate on the 4th of July was written during the American Revolution. It
announced the colonies break with Great Britain. When the Second Continental
Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776 the delegates had
to decide to sign or not to sign. In the end, fifty-six delegates made the brave
decision to sign the Declaration of Independence. Let’s remember some of the
most famous words from the Declaration of Independence. If you wish, please
recite these with us. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all Men
are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. That to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Governed. Eleven years later, in 1787, the founding fathers at the Constitutional Convention designed a
new government that was divided into three branches. The legislative branch, Congress, has the power to make laws. There are two parts of Congress: the
House of Representatives and the Senate. The executive branch has the power to
enforce laws and is led by the president. The judicial branch of government has the power to interpret laws and is made up of the national court including the Supreme Court. The three branches of
government work together. No one branch has too much power; the power is shared.
At the end of the discussion and the debate at the Constitutional Convention
the founding fathers had to decide to sign or not to sign. Ultimately 39
delegates out of the original 55 signed the United States Constitution however
it was not final until the states ratified or approved it. It took some
time and there were disagreements between the Federalists and
anti-federalists. The Federalist supported the Constitution and wanted a
strong and national government. The anti-federalists opposed the constitution
because they worried it did not protect people’s rights. The states had to decide
to ratify or not to ratify the Constitution. Many of the states agreed
to approve the Constitution if a bill protecting individual rights was added to it.
So the Bill of Rights is added to the Constitution in 1791. It contains the
first ten amendments and protects our personal rights and freedoms.
When the Constitution was written the founding fathers included a way to make changes.
Changes are made through amendments. Many important amendments have been added to
the Constitution throughout our history. We’re about to celebrate the 100th
anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment which allowed women the right to vote.
That’s a really big deal! The amendment process can take a long time. For example, when Congress opposed the 19th amendment the states had decision to ratify or to not to ratify. The movement for the women’s right to
vote started in the late 1800s. During that time people like Elizabeth
Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony wrote petitions and asked Congress to pass a
constitutional amendment that would allow women the right to vote.
In the early 1900s, the movement for women to be allowed to vote grew larger and larger gaining lots of support. The seats finally approved the
19th amendment in 1920. As you can see from the story we have shared the power
of government comes from the people and as Abraham Lincoln said in the
Gettysburg Address, “We have a government of the people, by the people and for the
people”. Now let’s end with how the United States Constitution begins. 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. [music]