The Constitution Makes That Pumpkin Spice Latte Possible
Published : September 19, 2017
To celebrate, roll on in to your local Starbucks and rejoice. Sit down, take in the ambience, and enjoy what you have been waiting months to do. Yes, now is the time, time to order up a fresh reading of The Constitution of the United States of America. And while you are at it, add an extra shot of the Declaration of Independence.
September 17 marked the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the document that is the supreme law of the land and that which has made it possible for Howard Schultz to turn Starbucks into a multi-billion dollar franchise with 24,000-plus locations worldwide. So now, please raise your pumpkin spice latte in honor of what the Framers did 230 years ago so that we may sip on those overpriced, ill-flavored cups of java every September.
Unfortunately, we know that the Constitution will not be the topic of your next coffee conversation. And why should it be? What did those dead white guys ever do for you? In short, more than you know.
On May 25, 1787, delegates from the colonies convened in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation. It became apparent that for the fledgling country to thrive, a more encompassing document be written. The delegates spent a distinctly hot and humid summer enclosed in the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) with windows shut so as not to let the deliberations of the day escape prematurely into the open Philadelphia air. These meetings became known as the Federal or Constitutional Convention.
James Madison took copious notes during the deliberations, which a few years after his death in 1836—upon his wishes—were provided to the public showing in great depth the speeches and discussion of the Founders on the complex issues at hand. Decisions were made and then revisited upon further reflection and thought.
During those summer months, the delegates created a republic, a system where the power lies within the people (“We the People”) and their representatives who are to operate the government. It is a system secured with separation of powers and checks and balances so that no one branch can overtake the other two. The Founders looked to the Greeks and Romans for guidance on the structure and to the Bible for their moral compass. In short time and with great care, the Framers articulated the government’s limited powers and the individual’s right to liberty. That liberty was further enshrined in 1791 with the addition of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution.
To maintain our freedom, we must understand what the Constitution provides. Evidently we have done a poor job in recent history. An alarming number of Americans have no understanding of the Constitution’s purpose or principles. A mere 26 percent can tell you the three distinct branches of government, and one in three people cannot name a single branch of government. (Spoiler alert: Legislative, Executive, Judicial)
And what is our excuse for not knowing the Constitution? Is it too long? Nope, there are just 4,543 words written coming out of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. With the addition of the 27 amendments, the count jumps to 7,591 words. College students spend more time texting every single day than the time it would take to read the entirety of the Constitution—twice.
In 2004, it became a requirement that on September 17, now known as Constitution Day, all federal agencies and all schools receiving federal funding provide relevant programming to educate about the Constitution.
(2) provide educational and training materials concerning the United States Constitution to each employee of the agency or department on September 17 of each year. (b) Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution. Public Law 108-447
So, again, why do we know nothing about the Constitution?
September 17 is but one day to acknowledge the Constitution’s meaning and significance. This September, add a splash of USA to your PSL. Read the Constitution and enjoy the sweet nectar that is American liberty. For there is nothing that tastes as good—or is as important—as freedom.