Living Constitution

The Constitutional Convention did not open with prayers. Benjamin Franklin proposed it during a deadlock, but it was observed that the delegates had no funds to pay clergymen. Alexander Hamilton supposedly joked that they should not call in foreign aid. But Jonah’s point stands: witness Washington’s first inaugural, replete with “fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe.”

There is another problem with Judge Taylor’s statement that “There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution.” There are indeed two immensely important powers not created by the Constitution–the absence of hereditary Kings, created by the Declaration of Independence; and the “perpetual” union of the states, created by the Articles of Confederation, which the Constitution only makes “more perfect.”

Richard Brookhiser — Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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