Living History: Our Constitution

September 16th, 2009 by Adam

Some have called it one of the most remarkable documents ever written. More than 200 years ago, on Sept. 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed and remains the foundation of the world’s most successful democracy. Our Constitution espouses the principles on which the country was founded: commitment to the rule of law, government with divided sovereignty, and the ideals of liberty, equality and justice. They also had a practical vision: they hoped to create a government that would protect citizens from greed and corruption. Constitution Day was celebrated by Plymouth State University Thursday, Sept. 17, with historian Woden Teachout speaking about some of the struggles that have shaped the fascinating history of the Constitution.

Woden Teachout speaks at Plymouth State University’s Constitution Day Sept. 17

PSU Associate Professor of History Marcia Schmidt Blaine said it’s very important for students to know the basis for our constitutional rights.

“It’s important for all citizens to understand that the men at the Constitutional Convention were not demigods but individuals who argued, compromised, and created a government that has stood the test of time,” Blaine said.

Teachout, a professor of graduate studies at Union Institute and University, told the crowd at PSU the best way to teach people about the Constitution is to give them examples of how it works.

“Everybody has a sense that it’s important, but they don’t always know why, so hopefully what we can do through Constitution Day is to really begin to articulate why it is important to their lives and what impact it has,” Teachout said. “Much of what we celebrate is the thing that really distinguishes between our country and the freedoms that we protect and those countries that don’t protect those freedoms.”

In addition to Teachout’s presentation, PSU theatre students Brady Lynch and David Brown gave a dramatic reading of the Bill of Rights and the preamble to the Constitution.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or

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