Two hundred and thirty years ago, the founding fathers of this country took the steps to form a more perfect union. On Sept. 17, 1787, the United State Constitution was signed by 39 out of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Soon after our war for independence from Great Britain was won in 1783, the founders determined that the original constitution, the Articles of Confederation, were too weak to support a new nation. And thus, the Constitution was born.
Establishing the Constitution was not a simple process. In fact, the way in which it was created is representative of the government it outlined — one of debate and equal representation. The delegates debated throughout the summer of 1787, and those who were so opposed to a more centralized government didn’t even attend, but eventually a plan was developed that created three branches of government, the executive, legislative, and judicial.
This plan certainly helped appease those with concerns about too much power in the federal government, instituting a system of check and balances that laid out the responsibilities of each branch while interweaving inherent controls to prevent one branch from superseding the others. Among other heated topics of discussion were the equal representation of the states in Congress, slavery, and the rights of the individual.
Ultimately, the crux of the conversation came down to the balance of states’ rights versus the authority of the federal government. After all, the delegates had just escaped the tyranny of an overreaching monarchy and were fearful of creating a government that did much of the same. This same matter still exists today, the will of the state pulling against the power of the federal government.
I am proud to be a true statesman and believe issues of national concern, like the management of our military, are best left to the federal government, while most everything else should be the decision of the state — the true, original intention of the Constitution. Each of our states are unique in geography, demographics, and issues and deserve the authority to make many of those decisions themselves. So this Constitution Day, I’m reminded of the reasons our founding fathers fought for independence and continue to be proud to be both an American and an Ohioan.
The writer represents the 84th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.