Every September we, as American Freemasons, take a moment to reflect and celebrate one of the greatest founding documents of our country: the United States Constitution. This year, September 17, 2011 was the observance of Constitution Day.
As citizens we should recognize the single document that has carried the ideals that founded this country, and pause to remember all of the great men and women who have stood for, defended, and fought to maintain those ideals in their truest form. As Freemasons, we should be especially mindful of the tenets included in the Constitution, as many of them are reflected in our great fraternity, and are etched in the hearts and minds of Freemasons worldwide. We should be ever respectful and reverent of those that put pen to paper, and who brought this great nation to life with a single, simple document that outlined how the United States of America should be.
Recently, in my Lodge, it was asked “who wrote this?”
The answer is simple: Great men. The Constitution was signed by forty men, 13 of them were Freemasons – Gunning Bedford, Jr. (1st Grand Master of Delaware), John Blair (1st Grand Master of Virginia), David Brearley (1st Grand master of New Jersey), Benjamin Franklin (Grand Master of Pennsylvania), George Washington (Master Mason, President of the United States of America), James McHenry, William Paterson, Rufus King, Nicholas Gilman, John Dickinson, Jonathan Dayton, Daniel Carroll and Jacob Broom.
But writing the Constitution wasn’t an easy task. Creating the blueprint that would stand the test of time, the ravages of men and that would steer the course of future generations of Americans didn’t come without argument, discord and – finally – agreement. The Constitutional Convention involved a great deal of discussion. There were men – even Freemasons – who refused to sign the instrument because they didn’t believe that there was enough individual freedom in the document. That the Constitution didn’t go as far as it should.
In the end, though, what is left out of the Constitution was as important as what was put into it. The document created a representative form of government unlike any ever seen before, with a system of checks of balances between Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches. The Constitutional Convention took the best and most shining examples of freedom from different forms of governance, and affixed them together in a tapestry that guaranteed that despotism could never rise or consume the freedoms of the individual.
Everything that makes this country great owes itself to our Constitution. A document that brings us all together as one, and begins with those immortal words “We the People, of the United States of America…”
The answer to the question “who wrote this?” is simple: WE wrote this. Be respectful and mindful to those that have gone before, for they have laid the path which we now walk.