I wish I were a Founding Father (happy birthday Constitution!)

That would rule out me being Amish wouldn’t it. They are (and were during Colonial and Revolutionary times) pacifists and don’t get involved in government or politics or things like revolutions.

The signing of the Constitution
17 September 1787

The only reason I know this is because I follow “people” like the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress on Twitter and the word was being spread. I didn’t know off hand where the Constitution was housed and if it would be accessible to the public on Constitution Day. I would later realize that my cousin lives right across the street from the National Archives where the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta are all located. The girls and I got there early in case there would be a line. There wasn’t. Shame.

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An overcast, slightly chilly day. Perfect for my orange trench! And you can see that Reagan still is playing the role of Amish girl.
We even got our pictures taken by two Japanese girls (reminiscent of the Buddhist Monk experience).

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The Magna Carta
This is one of the actual documents (this one was sealed in 1297)! Can you even imagine? This document was basically the beginning of the rights of the common people. It bound the Crown of England to certain rights and obligations and paved the way for many other similar documents, like our Constitution. Trivia tidbit: Ross Perot’s foundation bought this and brought it to the states. Someone else bought it at auction from him and it is on permanent loan to the National Archives.

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The actual Declaration of Independence
The ink on the original is fading badly and cannot be read (by me at least) in some areas. This document was revolutionary, literally! People had the audacity of hope (har har) to believe that they could rule themselves better than a tyrannical king thousands of miles away. They knew they were committing treason. As they signed the Declaration were their hearts pounding? Palms sweaty? Or were they steady handed, believing down to the depths that they were doing the right thing? I was standing as far away from it as the signers were when their ink wet the parchment.

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The US Constitution (the first page)
Happy Birthday! A young country filled with brilliant minds all living at the same time with brilliant ideas about how a country could and should best function. Differences about the specific details would not prevent the most enduring document of governance from coming into being. It is awe inspiring to realize that for over two hundred years we as a country, and we as individuals have clung to the ideas in the Constitution as our very lifeblood. That a document (along with the amendments) holds so much sway over the American conscience is almost beyond comprehension. These are ideals, bigger than one era, bigger than political games, that are just “us”. It proves how strong and powerful and right the ideas were that our Founding Fathers held.

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The Bill of Rights
There are 12 amendments on this document. The first ten are referred to as the Bill of Rights. The signers started to have doubts about how inclusive and complete the Constitution was. The cool thing is that the legislative process, set up by the Constitution, had to be used to get the amendments passed. And it worked. People actually compromised to get the work of the country done. And from then on, the processes laid out in our Constitution have been used to make this country not only survive, but thrive.

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Wow! I hope those guys went to Heaven because I want to sit down with them and just talk for a year or two about every single detail of their philosophies, the events leading up to and after the creation of our country and what, if anything, they think of how we’ve done in the last two hundred years. I’m looking forward to going back to the Archives to take it all in again. Maybe in March for the anniversary of the Bill of Rights.

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