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Houston Matters

On Constitution Day: A Reading of The Bill of Rights

Today is Constitution Day, a federally observed day to recognize the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. On Sept. 17, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document on which the structure of our federal government was delineated, and with it came ten amendments, known as The Bill of Rights. While 17 more have been […]

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Today is Constitution Day, a federally observed day to recognize the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

On Sept. 17, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document on which the structure of our federal government was delineated, and with it came ten amendments, known as The Bill of Rights.

While 17 more have been adopted in the 228 years since, those first ten – The Bill of Rights – remain crucial elements of our nation's code of law. They confirm, among other freedoms, that of speech and of the press (which you might say are fairly critical ones for those of us who get in front of microphones and share our voices with you).

That's why the Houston Matters team (Craig Cohen, Michael Hagerty, Edel Howlin, Maggie Martin and Paige Phelps) now takes a few minutes to read and appreciate the Constitution's Bill of Rights.

While Constitution Day is normally observed on Sept. 17 — the day in 1787 that the Constitution was signed — it's not the day it became law. It wasn't ratified until June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth of 13 states to adopt it by a vote of 57 to 47.

The amendments that comprise The Bill of Rights weren't ratified until Dec. 15, 1791. As Pauline Maier, the author of Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution put it, in those years "we the people...inaugurated a dialogue between power and liberty" that continues today.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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