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Mount Union College to Celebrate Constitution Day September 17

September 16, 2009

In honor and recognition of Constitution Day, Mount Union has developed a Constitution Day quiz to test the patriotic knowledge of its students.

The students who score the highest will be eligible for Mount Union prizes. The quiz will be available for students through the end of the day on Friday, September 18. Contact Dr. William Cunion, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at (330) 823-2450 or cunionwe@mountunion.edu with any questions.

Please read further for additional information about the Constitution as well as links to educational and fun videos.

Constitution

On May 14, 1787, almost 11 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Federal Convention assembled in Independence Hall in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation. After some debate, the Convention decided to draft an entirely new form of government. 

In closed sessions throughout the summer, the delegates created new articles that dealt with how much power to allow the central government, how to elect representatives in each state, and how many there should be. George Washington was unanimously elected to preside over the Constitutional Convention.

James Madison played an important role in searching for solutions to the many issues that were unattended to in the Articles. Madison and Alexander Hamilton issued a report on a commercial meeting with Congress in Annapolis, MD the year before, calling upon Congress to summon delegates of all of the states to meet for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.

The first draft of the Constitution was accepted on August 6, 1787.  However, a great number of debates occurred for several weeks.  Before the final vote on the Constitution on September 15, a proposition was made that amendments be made by the state conventions and then turned over to another general convention for consideration.  The delegates agreed on this idea, and the Constitution was formally signed on September 17.

According to the White House, the Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people by the framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers, and also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of United States citizens.

The constitution defines the three main branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch is vested in the President of the United States. He or she also acts as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The legislative branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which together form the United States Congress. Although the executive and legislative branches are elected by the people, members of the judicial branch are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

James Madison introduced 12 amendments to the First Congress in 1789. Ten of the amendments that he introduced are what we now consider to be the Bill of Rights. There are 27 amendments total.

For more information, click here to watch “Creating the Constitution,” courtesy of the History Channel.

And, for a fun bit of nostalgia, watch School House Rock's lesson about the Constitution.

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