Bench Memos

A Child of Fortune

As Ed and others have noted, today is Constitution Day–the 222nd anniversary of the final day of the Constitutional Convention.  (Or as one of my students recently mistyped, the “Constitutional Convection”–anyone want to bake a cake?)

Here is what George Washington, who presided over that summer-long meeting, wrote the next day to the Marquis de Lafayette concerning the Constitution:

It is the production of four months deliberation.  It is now a Child of fortune, to be fostered by some and buffeted by others.  What will be the General opinion on, or the reception of it, is not for me to decide, nor shall I say any thing for or against it: if it be good I suppose it will work its way good; if bad, it will recoil on the Framers.

It was indeed good.  May we ever resolve to foster and not to buffet this child of fortune.

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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