Celebrating our cherished constitutional freedoms

Johnson City Press • Sep 21, 2017 at 12:00 AM

The U.S. Constitution is one of the oldest and respected documents of its type still in use. The Constitution’s declarations of freedom and liberty have in 4,400 words provided hope and inspiration to our country in times of war, economic distress and social change.

This is Constitution Week, which was created in 1955 when the Daughters of the American Revolution convinced Congress to pass a law setting aside a week each year to observe the signing of the Constitution. This week is a time to emphasize the responsibility every American has to protect and defend the Constitution and to remind citizens of the role this document has had in the formation of this nation.

Northeast Tennessee has a direct tie to one of the signers of the Constitution. William Blount, who was a delegate from North Carolina when he placed his signature on the document, would later serve as governor of the Southwest Territory.

He spent his first years in that role at Rocky Mount, the first capital of the territory.

When the Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, it did not mention several of the freedoms we cherish today. These would be added in 1791 with the Bill of Rights.

Included among these are rights outlined in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We hope Americans will exercise two or more of the rights afforded in the Constitution by taking time this week to discuss the merits of this great document and the role it plays in our daily lives.

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