Historian Discovers 'Birth Certificate' of U.S. Constitution

Sep 15, 2011, 07:50 ET from Heritage Collectors' Society

Document on display at National Constitution Center

DOYLESTOWN, Pa., Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An amazing document that signified the birth of the U.S. Constitution has been discovered by well-known historian Tom Lingenfelter of  Doylestown, Pa., and is on exhibit at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center.  This extremely rare and important piece of American history is the printed copy of the "Resolve of Congress of September 28, 1787", sending the Constitution to the state legislatures to start the ratification process.  

Today only three copies of this document are known to exist.  It became known as the 'Birth Certificate' of the Constitution because of the impact the Resolve had by authorizing the Constitution's release to the thirteen original states. The Resolve told the states that Congress in New York had "Resolved Unanimously" to transmit the new Constitution to the state conventions for their approval.  The vote at the state level could have gone either way.  This official resolution, with the appearance of total agreement, was the defining moment.

In the words of James Madison, the new Constitution, as it came out of the convention in Independence Hall, "was nothing more than the draft of a plan, nothing but a dead letter, until life and validity were breathed into it by the voice of the people speaking through the several State Conventions."

From September 17 to September 28, 1787, the Continental Congress in New York held this "dead letter" and continued the heated debate between Federalists and anti-Federalist factions.  With complete agreement out of the question, the Federalists led by Washington and Madison, sought a compromise.  With both sides weighing each word, the resolution was hammered out.

Commenting on the resolution's final form in a letter to Madison, Washington wrote, "This apparent unanimity will have its effect.  Not everyone has the opportunities to peek behind the curtain and as the multitudes often judge from externals, the appearance of unanimity in that body (Congress) on this occasion will be of great importance."

Sent to the state legislatures along with a copy of the Constitution and a letter from Washington, the resolution launched a political struggle that officially ended July 26, 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify.

Tom Lingenfelter said, "The excitement surrounding this document increased when further research revealed that this 'Resolve of Congress' made the ratification of the U.S. Constitution possible.   In the chronology of the Constitution, this copy of the 'Resolve' of September 28, 1787 serves as the Birth Certificate of the Constitution; the subsequent ratification process became the infant's challenge for survival.  The Constitution has been maturing ever since, surviving attacks from all directions."

The 'Birth Certificate of the Constitution' and its story is on exhibit at the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania September 16 to October 7, 2011.

Tom Lingenfelter, as a historical artifact authenticator, President of Heritage Collectors' Society, former Special Agent for USA Counter-intelligence, Educator, Athlete, and Political Activist is daily involved with the history of America.

Contact: Tom@Heritagecs.com   215-230-5330  


SOURCE Heritage Collectors' Society