Historical Reprints History Constitution Explained

Constitution Explained

Constitution Explained
Catalog # SKU0014
Weight 1.20 lbs
Author Name Harry Atwood


Constitution Explained

by Harry Atwood

A very limited number of American citizens know what is contained in the Constitution of the United States. However, the priceless value of the Constitution will dawn upon all without exception if, through shortsighted governmental leadership, faulty legislative enactments and devious court decisions, we irrevocably depart from its spirit and provisions. Then it will be too late to retrieve the freedom and liberty guaranteed under this remarkable document, the ratification and adoption of which by the thirteen colonies wondrously transformed them into the great people of the United States of America.

This book will develop a better understanding and stimulate a more affectionate regard for the sterling worth of our beneficent heritage. It will inculcate a determination to guard against dangerous departures from the wise plan of government provided by the Constitution.

Many years ago the author became interested in the Constitution as a subject for research and interpretation. He gave up his law practice in Chicago in 1918 to devote his entire time, not only to the Constitution itself, but to the vast amount of historical material that throws light on its making and meaning. The Constitution Explained presents the results of Mr. Atwoods's many years of research and deliberations.


Page 18-21

Chapter III
The Delegates and Their Task

When the Constitutional Convention met at Philadelphia in the late spring of 1787, there was assembled a group of notably superior men from the standpoint of mentual acumen, political understanding, and moral courage.

Their lives had been devoted largely to study and thought concerning government and to rendering service to government. They were politically minded in the sense that Edison and Marconi are electrically minded, that Socrates and Emerson were philosophically minded, that Mozart and Mendelssohn were musically minded, that Newton and Kepler were scientifically minded.

In order to illustrate and emphasize the high ability and the public spirit of the delegates, a brief summary of the public activities of each of them is presented in Appendix I, a study of which will yield many interesting facts in connection with these builders of the Constitution.

Thirty-nine of the delegates signed the Constitution, and of the other sixteen a number would have signed had they not been called home before the close of the Convention by illness, pressing family matters, or urgent business.

The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, aged 81 years. The youngest delegate was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey aged 26 years. The average age of the delegates was about 43 years. All in all, age and youth were nicely balanced, and each contributed its share to the great work which emerged from that historic Convention.

It is also interesting to note that twenty-five of the delegates were college graduates. In those days colleges and universities were few and far between, and a college education was difficult to acquire.

Over half of them rendered distinguished military service during the Revolutionary War. A large proportion of them had served in the Continental Congress, and a number of them had served and apprenticeship in constitution-making in their respective States.

Among the fifty-five delegates, we find lawyers, physicians, merchants, financiers, educators, planters, soldiers, and statesmen. The calling most largely represented was the legal profession, which had thirty-one members, including several who were also judges.

The important thing, however, is that these men had great natural ability and strength of character and that they were earnest and thorough students of government, whole-heartedly devoted to the public welfare.

Fully aware of the opportunity which confronted them and conscious of the mighty responsibility they had assumed, they approached the difficult task of working out a plan of government in the same calm, deliberative, and analytical manner that characterizes the physician in making a diagnosis, the engineer in making a design, or the scientist in unfolding a law of nature. It is remarkable that a group of men could face such a difficult and delicate task and meet it with such consummate skill.

In the first place, it should be remembered that their purpose was not merely to frame a Constitution for a single nation. Had that been the case, their task would have been greatly simplified.

They sought to formulate a plan for setting up a dual government, well balanced between nation and States, which would operate directly upon the people as individuals.

End excerpt.

232 Pages, Clothbound - Hardcover
reprint - orginally published 1927

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