Discerning Moment: Timeless Truths from America's Treasury

The Value of the Constitution
The Seven Principles of America's Christian History

At the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, John Dickinson, one of our greatest Founding Fathers, and one of the least known, was troubled by the bickering and lack of progress by his fellow delegates on so propitious an occasion, that of crafting a new and unique form of government. Back in his boarding room that night, Dickinson drafted a speech he intended to give the following day. In it, he would remind his fellow delegates that they are not forming plans “for a day, month, year or age, but for an eternity.” For reasons that remain unexplained to this day, Dickinson never delivered the speech, but he saved his notes and several months later, while the ratification battles over the proposed new constitution were in full swing, he published this admonition in one of a series of newspaper letters penned by “Fabius.”

But the American Republic survives still, 228 years later, due in no small part to the foresight of the fifty-five men that met at Philadelphia. To what do we owe this permanency? As Thomas Jefferson put it,

Though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, yet they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally and recall the people; they fix too for the people the principles of their political creed.

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The Foundation for American Christian Education: Transforming the heart and mind of a nation
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