Some plain, honest men got together in Philadelphia and began the process by which the Constition of the United States of America was born. 55 men representing the 13 colonies spent almost four months within the confines of Independance Hall, in the hot and humid Philidelphia summer and drafted one of the most amazing documents ever written.
On May 25th, these men convened with the determination to repair the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. Among these men were several who were extreme nationalists wanting a strong central government that would rule supreme and in fact displace the state governments. Among these men were several who wanted a weak and inneffectifve central government that was subordinate to those of the state. The rest fell somewhere in between those two extremes.
Throughout that summer, these 55 men were able to discuss, argue, agree, disagree but ultimately reach the compromise that resulted in our original constitution. They were able to overcome strong differences on the role of the state versus the central government. They were able to overcome stronger differences on representation. The larger states wanted proportional representation, the smaller equal. They overcame this with a bicameral legislature that had proportional representation in the house and equal representation in the Senate.
They argued over a president or a monarch; over an appointed president, a committee, a hereditary position, a strong executive, a weak executive, a judiciary subservient to the legislature, lenght of terms, etc. These 55 men, some wealthy, some not, some eagerly (Madison) some requiring much persuasion (Washington) met for almost 120 days, keeping their discussions and their deliberations secret. And, in the end, they came up with one of the most marvelous of handbooks on how a government of the people should be formed.
It would take until June of the following year to be ratified. It took effect in March of 1789, with George Washington becoming our first president under our current republican form of government. The first 10 ammendments, proposed in September of 1789 were ratified finally in December 1791 and became our Bill of Rights.
It is a rather short document, really. Yet it is the basis for our continuance as a nation for 222 years since it's inception.
From the Preamble
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We can use some more Plain Honest Men (and Women) in Washington today. Men and women who are able and willing to set aside personalities and self and put the USA first. Men and women who recognize and understand and are willing to continue in the same vein as the framers.