Hamilton County’s Happy 200th Birthday Committee has organized the first annual Hamilton Stroll for the Constitution, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Individuals and families may register at the Northshore entrance to the Walnut Street Bridge and then stroll at their leisure.
Young and older participants are encouraged to wear their red, white and blue, grab a favorite patriotic hat or feathery boa and consider bringing a sign proclaiming a favorite amendment or clause from the Constitution.
The Chattanooga Bar Association and the Chief John Ross Chapter, NSDAR are co-sponsors for the event are will be drawing names from the registration list for ‘Book’ gift cards and providing a free pocket copy of the United States Constitution for participants.
Alexander Hamilton, for whom Hamilton County was named at its charter in 1819, is often considered the impetus for the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia from May 25 through Sept. 17, 1787. Mr. Hamilton, who did not support the first government design – the Articles of Confederation, called for a convention in Annapolis, Md. in 1786 to discuss possible changes to the Articles, in hope of strengthening the new government. Under the Articles, there was no executive branch, no taxation powers and no clear method for combating internal rebellion since there was no organized military force. When delegates from only five states attended, Mr. Hamilton realized that another meeting would be necessary before specific recommendations for changes to the federal government could be made.
It was Mr. Hamilton, former aide to Revolutionary War General George Washington, who persuaded the most respected person in Colonial America to once again leave Mount Vernon and preside over the convention to be held in Philadelphia in 1787. Mr. Washington’s presence and endorsement of the process guaranteed participation for each of the new states.
What is often overlooked is that Mr. Hamilton was only 30 years old when he was then chosen to serve as one of New York’s three delegates. He outlined his ideas regarding a stronger government to the Convention on June 18, 1787, in his 11-point-plan calling for a strong centralized with a chief executive. According to James Madison’s notes, Mr. Hamilton spoke on his plan for six-hours straight. While the ratified constitution continues some of Mr. Hamilton’s ideas, the document reflects the will of the people through their delegates - - a balanced government based on participation by an informed electorate.
Over 225 years after ratification, the United States Constitution remains the shortest and the longest-continually used constitution in the history of the world. It’s opening words, “We the People”, are immediately recognizable and remain a hallmark of our Republic.
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