Special week calls for residents to remember America’s beginnings


TAYLOR COUNTY—When 39 gentlemen gathered in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787, to sign a document that would lay out the ground rules for the new nation, little did they know that it would become a document that Americans would tirelessly defend and protect.

To commemorate the signing of the document of the utmost importance, every year, a week is set aside that calls on residents to familiarize themselves with the history of the birth of the nation and the roots that keep it intact today.

In recognition of the 235th anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America by the Constitutional Convention, Grafton Mayor Karen Willis presented a proclamation declaring the week of September 17-23 as Constitution Week within the city.

“Whereas it is fitting and proper to accord official recognition to this magnificent document and its memorable anniversary, and to the patriotic celebrations which will commemorate the occasion,” Willis delivered.

Once again, inviting citizens of the city to join her and reaffirm the ideals the Framers of the Constitution had in 1787 by vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed to us through this guardian of our liberties, remembering that lost rights may never be regained.

“By virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Grafton, Taylor County, West Virginia, I do hereby proclaim September 17 through 23 to be Constitution Week in the City of Grafton,” Willis voiced.

The US Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation and proposed a new form of government for those living in the United States. 

Unhappy with the deficits left in the articles, the main issue was the power given to individual states, the founding fathers moved to come up with a document that would unify the nation. 

Until the adoption of the constitution, Congress could not raise funds, regulate trade or conduct foreign policy without the voluntary agreement of the states.

According to the Library of Congress, led by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, the delegates at the Annapolis Convention issued a proposal for a new convention to revise the Articles of Confederation, during a convention in Annapolis in September 1786.

Then, in February 1781, the Continental Congress called for a national convention for revision. It wasn’t until May 25 that the Constitutional Convention officially began.

Basic issues including the essential structure of the government, the basis of representation and the regulation of interstate trade were all at the center of the convention.

From May to September of 1787 the men debated in a shuttered room, in sweltering heat. Among the most important issues they debated on was the creation of a tripartite division of government into the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches.

Once drafted, it was up to nine states to ratify the new form of government.

In a push to see that come to fruition, Hamilton, Madison and John Jay, under the pseudonym Publius, penned the Federalist Papers, a series of newspaper articles in favor of the proposed plan.

Once ratified by New Hampshire, the nineth state, on June 21, 1788, the constitution was officially adopted by the United States.

“The first Congress under the new Constitution convened in New York City on March 4, 1789, although a quorum was not achieved until early April,” the Library of Congress states. “On April 30, 1789, President George Washington delivered the first inaugural address, and within his initial term the first ten amendments—known as the Bill of Rights—were adopted, establishing the fundamental rights of U.S. citizens and assuaging many fears associated with the relatively strong central government the Constitution provides.”

To commemorate the signing and adoption of the United States Constitution, the Daughters of the American Revolution petitioned Congress in 1955 to set aside the week of September 17-23 each year to be dedicated for an observance centering on the Constitution and the rights and freedoms it gives to the American people.

 Later, the resolution was adopted by the United States Congress and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into public law on August 2, 1956.

The week serves as a time for residents to remember the work that took place to establish the freedoms that Americans have today.

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