Gwen Veazey, co-chair of the public relations committee of the Quaker Meadows Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, is sharing a history of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in honor of Constitution Week, Sept. 17-23.
The oldest member of the Constitutional Convention was an ailing Benjamin Franklin at age 81. He needed help to sign the document, and as he did so, tears flowed from his eyes.
The nation’s first president, George Washington, attended the Convention and signed the Constitution. He is the only president to win the office unanimously, that is, receive all the votes cast by the Electoral College, not once, but twice. He once wrote that the Constitution seemed to him “little short of a miracle.”
The third president of the U.S. and writer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, was serving as foreign minister to France in 1787 and did not attend the Constitutional Convention or sign the Constitution. He wrote letters to the delegates from France, and his ideas and arguments influenced the framers. He disagreed with the Federalists about how powerful a central government should be and was instrumental in adding the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
The second president of the U.S., John Adams, served as minister to Great Britain, and also did not attend the Convention or sign the Constitution. The groundbreaking nature of the new democracy of the United States of America in a world ruled by monarchies was emphasized with the peaceful transition of leadership from George Washington to John Adams in 1797.
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