AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation encouraged families and educators to promote Constitution Day and Celebrate Freedom Week as ways to help young Texans understand the importance of our nation’s highest governing document.
Constitution Day falls on Sept. 17, but when it falls on a weekend can be observed on the following Monday. It marks the day the U.S. Constitution was signed in 1787. Celebrate Freedom week is outlined in Texas law as the week in which Sept. 17 falls and a time to educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the values on which it was founded.
Tom Lindsay, senior constitutional scholar and the director of the Center for Higher Education at Texas Public Policy Foundation, offered the following extended statement on the events:
“On September 17, 1787, our country’s Founders signed the Constitution. In doing so, they revolutionized not only America but also the world. This revolution consisted in placing ultimate power in the people, rather than monarchs or aristocrats. Through this, the Constitution’s preamble announces its intention to ‘secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.’
“Since this signal event 230 years ago, much of the world has looked to and emulated us, regarding us to be what Lincoln called, ‘the last best hope of earth.’
“Today, the Constitution, as well as the natural-rights doctrine on which it relies, is under attack from opponents abroad and at home. To defend against this, our nation began, in 2005, the annual celebration of Constitution Day, a celebration urged by Lincoln: ‘Let it [reverence for the laws and Constitution] be taught in schools, seminaries and in colleges; let it be written in primers, in spellingbooks and in almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, enforced in courts of justice. In short, let it become the political religion of the nation.’
“Ronald Reagan echoed Lincoln’s counsel. Reagan cautioned us that, ‘Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.’
“That our freedom may never be lost, the Texas Public Policy Foundation calls on our schools to strengthen their teaching of the moral and political principles that make the Constitution the greatest governing document in history. Specifically, let us ensure that the next generation learns well that the people’s rights are not gifts from government, as they were in the days of kings and aristocrats. Instead, their rights — to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — are ‘endowed by their Creator’ as the Declaration of Independence teaches.'
“Following Lincoln, let us make every day Constitution Day that we may rededicate ourselves to teaching and instilling reverence for the Constitution and the rule of law, on which the blessings of liberty depend.”
For more information or to request an interview with Dr. Lindsay, please contact Alicia Pierce at email@example.com or 512-472-2700.
Dr. Thomas Lindsay is a senior constitutional scholar and the director of the Center for Higher Education at Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin. The Texas Public Policy Foundation aims to advance a societal framework that effectively fosters human flourishing based upon cooperation and mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and speech.