Happy Constitution Day

Source: National Review.

One of the most profound realizations in my life occurred when I was a volunteer with a small non-profit in Norfolk. The organization had a governing document, its bylaws, which established its officers and the procedures to be followed by its board of directors. I don’t remember what triggered the thought, but one day I suddenly recognized the similarity of the organization’s bylaws and the U.S. Constitution.

Previously I had tended to think of the Constitution as either a philosophical treatise or as a type of contract or grant. But in my moment of recognition, I began to see the Constitution as an article of incorporation, essentially a policy and procedures document.

I have found this particular insight to be perennially useful. So I share it today in honor of the anniversary.

9 thoughts on “Happy Constitution Day

  1. In 1961 I was one of twelve statewide winners in Ohio in the annual American Legion essay contest. The topic that year was “The Constitution and What it Means.” For the edification and enjoyment of the forum members I am linking to the archives of the Congressional Record where my Congressman, the Honorable Frank T. Bow, had entered – without objection – my essay in its entirety. It begins about 2/3 of the way down the middle column and continues in the third column.

    Reading now what my 16-year-old self had to say about this country I am struck by how little my essential views have changed in spite of powerful reasons to move towards cynicism. We still could be that “Shining City on a Hill,” but we have to try a little harder to get there.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Quite impressive for age 16, but then we all look at age through our own lenses. I was fortunate enough to attend an excellent school from 8-12, but looking back on some of my saved (by Mom, of course) writings I can safely say they were juvenile in comparison.

      No need for further archiving on my part.

      Thanks for the link. Congratulations, much belated, on making the official records.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. At that age I was bored with all things political and fascinated by science. It was not until much later in life that I became interested in government.

      I like to think of the Declaration of Independence as our mission statement and the Constitution as our bylaws.

      The Declaration is to inspire us (which is where the promise of Life Liberty and Property[pursuit of happiness.] comes from) and the Constitution restrains the government from taking them from us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As a teen-aged Irish American Catholic I was very fired up by the Kennedy candidacy. There is nothing like being told that you do not belong in your own country – no Catholic should be President was the message – to get your juices flowing. One of those peak moments that stay with you forever was attending one of his rallies in the fall of 1960. The energy was electrifying and I remember it vividly to this day.

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        1. I was raised Catholic, but it didn’t stick. My three best friends were Catholic, Episcopal and Southern Baptist.

          I remember the Baptist’s family being horrified by Kennedy and convinced that the Pope would be running America if Kennedy won. I’m sure they were relieved to learn of the orgies with prostitutes in the White House swimming pool. Better a sinner than a Papist.

          My view was ‘A pox on both your houses.’


  2. Nice essay but I am struck by how little your views compare now from then. How you held freedom and the entire constitution and amendments dear then but desire slavery now at the hands of plantation socialists and bastardization of the constitution is compelling. What happened that caused being a hateful, nasty, mouthy ingrate?


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