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The Day Ben Franklin Cried

| September 19, 2020
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On a September Monday in 1787, four prisoners from the Walnut Street jail in Philadelphia carried a gout stricken (Oh – I can relate to his pain) Benjamin Franklin into the Pennsylvania State House.  This is the same State House where so many other important events took place: George Washington was appointed the commander of the Continental Army (1775); the Declaration of Independence was signed (1776); the Articles of Confederation were adopted (1781); and the new United States Constitution had been “framed” over the previous 100 days.  It was on this Monday in question that the framers put their signatures to this document. Due to his poor health, Benjamin Franklin required assistance to sign the Constitution.  It is said that, as he did so, tears ran down his face.  As Benjamin Franklin left the Pennsylvania State House after the final meeting of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, he was approached by the wife of the mayor of Philadelphia. She was curious as to what the new government would be. Franklin replied, "A republic, madam. If you can keep it."


Here are a few other tidbits regarding the U.S. Constitution. 

  • At 4,543 words (to include the signatures of the signers), it is the shortest and oldest Constitution of any major government in the world. To shed some light on the brevity of this document:  This is my 23rd weekly email I’ve written; at an average of 750 words per email, I have written 4x as many words as the Constitution. 
  • James Madison is considered the “Father of the Constitution”. Some of you may have heard me reference that I “live with a Constitutional Scholar”, and this is because my wife is a Fellow of the James Madison Foundation.  In most of the years she has taught American Government, she has given her students small pocket Constitutions (to include the amendments) that acted as their text book, with additional documents and activities woven in to the course.  Personally, I like hearing about the reactions of some of her students who “freak out” when they don’t have a normal text book.


If you want to read further information for yourself, here is the site that I used for reference:


In Benjamin Franklin’s old age and wisdom, he commented on the half-sun image that was carved into the chair George Washington sat in throughout the proceedings, correctly predicting, “I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.”


Please remember that we are “here” and available for you.  If you have any questions or concerns, financial or otherwise, please do not hesitate to call or email.  If you have friends, family, or neighbors you feel would benefit from a conversation with me, I’m more than happy to have a call or jump on a Zoom meeting with them. 


As always, I hope that you are doing well, and staying safe & healthy! 

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