DAR celebrates Constitution Week
The Daily Reflector
Monday, September 16, 2019
The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will mark the 232nd anniversary of the U.S. Constitution with a bell-ringing today, and a school group will read the document at the Pitt County Courthouse.
Greenville’s Susanna Coutanch Evans Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution will commemorate the Sept. 17, 1787, signing of the Constitution by ringing bells at 4 p.m. at Sheppard Memorial Library. The group encourages members of the public to attend the ceremony.
Additionally, students of the Classical Conversations Home School Community of Greenville are schedule to read the Constitution on the courthouse steps. That observance begins at 10 a.m.
Sept. 17 is known as Constitution Day because 38 of 41 delegates from the 13 states under the Article of Confederation signed the document during a constitutional convention convened by Congress. The constitution was later ratified by all 13 states after the inclusion of the Bill of Rights.
"Many men and women struggled and died in the American War for Independence which when won necessitated the organization of a new plan of government," said Louann Haddock of the Susanna Coutanch Evans chapter. "The plan that resulted was called the Articles of Confederation. When this plan proved inadequate for the needs of the young nation, a special convention met in Philadelphia and the basic parts of the document we know as the Constitution were written."
North Carolina's delegates were among those who insisted on the Bill of Rights to protect the basic freedoms included in the 10 amendments, said Haddock, who is the group's Constitution Week chairwoman.
The NSDAR supported many of the amendments to follow, including the 19th Amendment, signed on Aug. 18, 1919, and ratified in August 1920, which gave a legal voice to women through the right to vote — a voice Abigail Adams requested of her husband John Adams at the time the Constitution was being written.
“I desire you would remember the ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors," she wrote. "Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation.”
The Daughters during this year's ceremony will be honoring the women who ultimately carried out the rebellion Adams predicted — it began during the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention when Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and others issued their Declaration of Sentiments and boldly stated “all men AND women are created equal,” Haddock said.
The Daughters of the American Revolution in 1955 petitioned the U.S. Congress to dedicate Sept. 17–23 of each year to the commemoration of Constitution Week. Congress adopted the resolution, and on Aug. 2, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into Public Law #915.
The celebration’s goals are to encourage the study of the historical events that led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787; to inform people that the Constitution is the basis of America’s great heritage and the foundation of our way of life; and to emphasize U.S. citizens’ responsibility to protect, defend and preserve the Constitution.
“The framers created a Constitution that translated into law the ideals upon which our nation was built,” DAR President General Denise Doring VanBuren said in a news release. “Their vision was so forward thinking that their words still guide us today. No American history education can be complete without a thorough understanding of the impact the Constitution has had on the lives of American citizens past and present.”
For additional information about DAR and its programs, visit www.dar.org.