Hedtke lectures on Constitution Day

By Danielle McLaughlin
October 1, 2009

Shannon Keough

Constitution Day, Sept. 17, is a staple in American history, the day that we gained our American rights. Dr. James Hedtke gave a lecture in the mansion on Thursday, Sept. 17, regarding the importance.

On Jan. 4, 2007, Illinois Senator Durbin mandated that every college must have a Constitution Day or the college’s financial aid could be in jeopardy. This is partially the reason for Hedtke’s lecture, the other reason is to sustain the significance of Constitution Day.

Hedtke opened the lecture by giving some background on how the Constitution came about. He explained how there were problems with the Articles of Confederation.

There were three main problems with the Articles of Confederation: the national government could not collect taxes, it could not raise an army and finally it could not regulate trade.

These significant problems led to the articles being revised which led to a different document known as the Constitution.

After explaining the problems with the Articles of Confederation, Hedtke explained each delegate and why there were qualified to write the Constitution.

On Sept. 17, 1787, 39 courageous men signed the constitution and changed the future of America. Hedtke talked about the two leading experts out of the 39 men, Alexander Hamilton and James Wilson. These two men might have been the experts, but all 39 men made a big impact on this document.

Hedtke explained that Pennsylvania tried to be the first state to ratify the Constitution, but instead Delaware beat them to it and became the first state to ratify it.

“Those little rats from Delaware ride around with license plates that say ‘first state,'” Hedtke said. This sort of humor made Hedtke’s lecture informative and entertaining.

“This stuff always intrigued me, I thought it was very well spoken and held my attention,” David Swedkow, freshman political science major, said.

There was a relaxed atmosphere as Hedtke sat down at the end of his lecture and answered questions.

When asked why it is so important to acknowledge Constitution Day, Hedtke said, “It is important to know how the Constitution was born because it is one of the sacred documents that binds us together as a people. A person cannot know where they are and where they are going unless they know where they have been.”

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Danielle McLaughlin

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