Constitution Week – A Perfect Time to “Proclaim Freedom throughout all the Land
Constitution Week – A Perfect Time to “Proclaim Freedom throughout all the Land”As most of you know, over the past few weeks NCCS has been involved in an experiment responding to the oft-asked question, “What can I do as a citizen to help preserve Constitutional freedom in our Country?” We have spent as much as a week at a time in each of several states teaching hundreds of people in short three hour evening meetings. It has been a marvelous time during those weeks to teach many more hundreds, and perhaps thousands of people, than we otherwise would have been able to reach. Some of these teaching opportunities included:
- Church groups meeting at their regular weekly study times.
- County political party groups where candidates and elected officials were in attendance.
- Tea Party groups of all sizes.
- Special meetings with influential people from a governor of one state to legislators and judges.
- Touring an entire state with the state leaders of Concerned Women for America.
- Special meetings in churches, one of which was streamed live over the internet. Click here to watch.
- A kick-off seminar in the nationwide Fortnight of Freedom program outlined by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in an effort to preserve religious freedom.
Every American can teach the Constitution!In our teaching we used only one textbook; the Pocket Constitution published by NCCS. Our goal was to help Americans understand that anyone can take this little document and teach some marvelous principles directly from it. It is simple and doable for each American who is concerned about our Country. This little 48-page pocket size booklet contains our two major founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It also contains some powerful quotes from the Founders on the subjects of the importance of educating the people, especially our youth, regarding the foundations of freedom – Virtue and Morality, preserving the principles of the Constitution, and recognizing the Hand of Providence in the founding of America. Those of you familiar with our book, The 5000 Year Leap, will appreciate the fact that every one of the 28 Principles of Liberty is reflected in either the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution. With a little study, each American can share the simple doctrines contained in the principles of liberty, and all you really need once you understand the principles is a copy of the Pocket Constitution from NCCS. The following table will help you in your preparation:
|No.||Principle||Category||Founding Document paragraphs|
|1||The Genius of Natural Law||Foundations||Dec. of Ind. , 1|
|2||A Virtuous and Moral People||Foundations||Dec. of Ind., 1,2, concl|
|3||Virtuous and Moral Leaders||Foundations||Dec. of Ind., 1,2, concl|
|4||The Role of Religion||Foundations||Dec. of Ind., 1,2, concl|
|5||The Role of the Creator||Foundations||Dec. of Ind., 1,2, concl|
|6||All Men are Created Equal||Foundations||Dec. of Ind. , 2|
|7||Equal Rights, Not Equal Things||Foundations||Dec. of Ind. , 2|
|8||Man's Unalienable Rights||Foundations||Dec. of Ind. , 2|
|9||The Role of Revealed Law||Foundations||Dec. of Ind., 1,2, concl|
|10||Sovereignty of the People||Foundations||Dec. of Ind., 1, concl|
|11||Who Can Alter the Government?||Foundations||Dec. of Ind., 2, concl|
|12||Advantages of a Republic||Foundations||Const., Art I|
|13||Protection Against Human Frailties||Foundations||Const., Preamble, Amd. 1|
|14||Property Rights Essential to Liberty||Foundations||Dec. of Ind. , 2;Const. Art. IV, Amd. 5|
|15||Free-Market Economics||Foundations||Const. Art I.8, Amd 10|
|16||The Separation of Powers||Structure||Const. Art I, II, III, Amd 10|
|17||Checks and Balances||Structure||Const. Art I, II, III, IV, V, VI|
|18||Importance of a Written Constitution||Structure||Const., Preamble, Art I, II, III|
|19||Limiting and Defining the Powers of Government||Structure||Dec. of Ind. , 2;Const., Art I, II, III, Amd 1-10|
|20||Majority Rule, Minority Rights||Structure||Const., Art I.2.1, I.5.3|
|21||Strong Local Self-Government||Structure||Const., Art I.8, IV.4, Amd 10|
|22||Government by Law, Not by Men||Structure||Dec. of Ind. , 2, List of Grievances; Const., Art I.8|
|23||Importance of an Educated Electorate||Working Policies||Dec. of Ind. , List of Grievances; Const., Amd 10|
|24||Peace Through Strength||Working Policies||Const. Art. I.8|
|25||Avoid Entangling Alliances||Working Policies||Const. Art II.2, Art VI.2|
|26||Protecting the Role of the family||Working Policies||Dec. of Ind., 1,2, conclConst. Art I.10|
|27||Avoiding the Burden of Debt||Working Policies||Const. Art I.8, Art VI.1|
|28||The Founders' Sense of Manifest Destiny||Working Policies||Dec. of Ind., 1,2,List of Grievances, concl; Const. Art IV. 3,4|
Preparing for Constitution WeekIt is fortunate that September 17th, Constitution Day, falls on a Monday this year; for it was also on a Monday in 1787 that the Constitution was signed. This provides a very fitting beginning for Constitution Week, proclaimed by Congress to always be from September 17 through September 23 of each year. You may recall that in 2004, Public Law 108-447 was passed by Congress requiring the following:
“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. “…each Federal agency or department shall provide educational and training materials concerning the United States Constitution to each employee…on September 17 of each year.”This legal requirement provides a background and the authority for citizens to approach local, county, and state authorities and ask them to proclaim September 17-23 as Constitution Week. Our experience in doing this shows that very few if any will refuse to do this. Several years ago one Boy Scout, seeking to fulfill his project for his Eagle rank, sent letters to the mayors of every town and city in his state asking them to proclaim Constitution Week that year. He included a Sample Proclamation along with his personal letter. The response was amazing and Constitution Week was proclaimed throughout the whole state! With such proclamations in hand it becomes easier to approach many groups and volunteer to help them celebrate Constitution Week in ways big and small. NCCS is ready to continue to ship copies of the Pocket Constitution in whatever quantity required. (We are approaching eight (8) million in distribution!) Be sure you have plenty on hand. Nearly all of us belong to a group of some kind—family, church, club, school, professional, work, political, neighborhood—where some kind of teaching can take place either formally or informally. Distributing a copy of the Constitution and pointing out an interesting principle is usually well received. It is thrilling to see people respond to principles when they sense you are not trying to be “political.”
Suggestions for Constitution Week ActivitiesOne of the most successful Constitution Week celebrations consistently held takes place in Gilbert, Arizona. Their website www.constitutionweekusa.com gives a summary of what they have done. Here are some highlights from their past Constitution Week celebrations.
- Distinguished characters from the Colonial Era visited approximately 40,000 students within the Town of Gilbert
- Replicas of the White House, Capital, Supreme Court Building, Washington Monument, and Independence Hall were displayed.
- Scout Clinic - Over 1,200 Boy Scouts work on merit badges each year: Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, and American Heritage.
- Student Art & Essay Contest - The School Art and Essay Contest is designed for students from 4th-12th grade to think about the Constitution and the importance it plays in maintaining the freedoms we all enjoy. One of the best events of the Constitution Week Activities is viewing the art and reading the essay's of our young people. They are far more perceptive than adults sometimes think. We encourage all students to participate in this event and ask the teachers and parents to be supportive.
- Adult Fine Art Competition - Artists may submit artwork, with a patriotic theme, for display and competition at the Constitution Fair.
Saving this nation rests upon each one of us individuallyThe mission statement for one group of parents desiring to educate their children and grandchildren on Constitutional principles is an example for us all. Their mission statement reads:
"To create a future educated electorate by teaching the children ... the true principles of liberty as established by the framers of the Constitution. This will be done for the purpose of preparing the next generation to protect and secure these precious liberties and be ready to take an active role in government. This will be accomplished by utilizing a staff of patriotic volunteers who have been well-trained and prepared to teach the Constitution and its correct principles to students in the classroom. The volunteer teachers are prepared to go into a designated class for up to six separate occasions to teach age appropriate material that will enable students to gain a working knowledge of the Constitution and its applicability to Americans today. Students will increase in patriotism and pride for being an American, and as a result, families will become more determined to protect the freedom factors that are so quickly slipping away."
The Making of America SeminarThe Making of America seminar is a great way to promote an understanding of Constitutional principles. This is a study of the efforts Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington and others made in rediscovering the keys to the creation of the first free nation in modern times. We'll trace their adventure from 1400 B.C. to A.D. 1787. "The Perfect Plan of Liberty" - A look at the solid political and economic principles from the preamble through the amendments to the Constitution. You'll learn perhaps for the first time how nearly every problem in America today can be solved by restoring these successful concepts. Let us hear from you as you dream of making Constitution Week a reality in your area. Do what you can this year and let it grow in the future.
Earl Taylor, Jr.