By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Today is Constitution Day, marking 225 years since signing of our Republic’s founding document, but because it’s also Rosh Hashanah, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will show off six drafts of the Constitution for free tomorrow, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The half dozen versions show the document’s evolution, from a hand-written work-in-progress to the later ones for the delegates and public.
Lee Arnold, senior director of Library and Collections at the Society, says, “Number five that we’ll be showing, known as the Official Edition, and it was one that was printed especially for the Constitutional Convention and so that is the final internal one and then the one that was presented to the public was in the Pennsylvania Packet,” which was a newspaper.
And, Arnold says there will be some unfamiliarity to people who think the Preamble was pre-ordained.
“Mostly they get, you know, ‘We the People of the United States.’ And then I show them the first hand-written draft and it says ‘We the People of the States of New Hampshire, Rhode Island…’ It lists all 13 states.”
And, for a brief moment, the letters USA had company.
“The first one is United People and States of America. It sort of hinting: Go UPSA! Go UPSA!”
Arnold says there are some margin notes indicating that the later Bill of Rights was being discussed.