Skip to main content

The Story of Our Constitution

Article I, Section 8.

Our Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war; in 1787 this limit on executive power was a revolutionary statement against centuries of oppressive European monarchies.

The last time Congress declared war was during WWII; our entry in the war a result of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor 80 years ago today.

Serendipitously perhaps I grabbed this book this morning. Roosevelt’s presidency spanned the Great Depression and WWII and somewhere in the middle he commemorated the sesquicentennial of our Constitution.


Upon signing the Constitution Benjamin Franklin may have said it best, “There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them.” And he would accept the Constitution, “because I expect no better and because I am not sure that it is not the best.”

150 years later in his “Constitution Day” speech, FDR said, “For us the Constitution is a common bond, without bitterness, for those who see America as Lincoln saw it, ‘the last, best hope of earth.’

So we revere it, not because it is old but because it is ever new, not in the worship of its past alone but in the faith of the living who keep it young, now and in the years to come.”


On December 8, 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to a joint session of Congress, what came to be known as the “Day of Infamy” speech, and, with a vote of 82-0 in the Senate and 388-1 in the House, Congress approved his request for a formal declaration of war against Japan.

Maybe our Constitution it is not the best, maybe it is. But what I am absolutely sure of is there are a lot of worse places I could be where absolute power reigns and individual rights and certainly women’s rights do not exist.

Leave a Reply