Why We Celebrate Constitution Day
America’s founders are often remembered as great generals and statesmen, but we tend to forget that they were also our country’s earliest innovators. On a hot September day in 1787, the Founders unveiled an unmatched innovation in self-government—the U.S. Constitution. This document outlined an entirely new type of government, one that was established on the basis that all men are entitled to unalienable rights. Building on the ideas and experiences of prior ages, they built a framework that has unleashed free, dynamic, and creative American entrepreneurs who have helped create the world’s single largest economy. The U.S. Constitution opened the door for American innovation, and Constitution Day is an opportunity to celebrate the enduring, fundamental document that has made all subsequent American progress possible.
The Founders drew upon true ideas in political thought when structuring the American government, and they took seriously human nature and the nature of politics. Protections against the accumulation of tyrannical power, such as the separation of powers and checks and balances, was aimed to foster good government but limited government. These political innovations were crucial to establishing an environment where creativity, freedom of thought, and free enterprise thrive; because it is only when human beings explore their unique talents and interests while enjoying the fruits of their labor that they are able to innovate. Nearly every modern necessity that we enjoy—from the lightbulb to refrigeration to the computer—is the creation of a free individual who has flourished—and whose rights have been protected—by our Constitution.
In the modern world, it can be easy to take a two-hundred-and-thirty-year-old document for granted. September 17th is a time to celebrate the everyday liberties defended in our democratic republic. It is an innovation that continues to sustain the liberties we enjoy today, and will continue to for generations of Americans to come.
This year, Common Sense Society is celebrating Constitution Day by releasing our curriculum module Building Free Government: A Tale of Two Constitutional Systems. Intended for use with middle and high school students, the module contains two days of lesson plans, pre-class reading, and group activities to teach the ingenuity and legacy of our founding document. The module focuses on the importance of governmental structure. It also looks at how the Constitution creates a system of government that is proven to protect individual liberty. We hope this resource will help educate future generations so we can continue building a more perfect union.