Today is Constitution Day, a working holiday in honor of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787. Of course the ratification process was still to come, a hard-fought, well-argued campaign that resulted in adoption in June of 1789.

From the National Archives, a transcript of the original text of the Constitution.

Official website of Constitution Day.

Brief article on the U.S. Constitution from Britannica Concise Encyclopedia.

The Founders wrestled with the issue of Power and Liberty. Power in human hands was seen as a natural threat to liberty since it tended toward tyranny. The Founders believed that history and reason demonstrated that human nature when given power almost always yielded to the temptation to become tyrannical, unless checked. But, government was necessary in order to prevent anarchy, also an enemy of freedom. The answer was to give the Federal Government the minimum amount of power necessary for its function, and to safeguard liberty from even that small amount of power through a system division and of checks and balances. The first protection was to ensure that power would be divided between the state governments and the federal government. The second protection was to divide power within the federal government, and establish a system of checks and balances between federal branches.

It is interesting this year to celebrate our Constitution in the midst of the Tea-Party Movement, which believes that the federal government has become too powerful, and wants still more power, threatening liberty.