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NOW PLAYING: The Rough Draft Of America

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The United States Constitution, the global lodestar of liberal democracy, remains a work in progress. The first draft of the Constitution took over 100 days of furious argument and deliberation among the Founding Fathers to finally complete, and it has been amended multiple times since its genesis in 1787. Two hundred and thirty years later, constitutional lawyers, congressmen, Supreme Court justices, even the POTUS continue to debate the exact parameters and intended consequences of constitutional language such as “We the People,” the “Right to Bear Arms,” and “Equal Rights for All.” A new exhibit at the National Constitution Center called American Treasures: Documenting The Nation’s Founding traces the evolution of these foundational ideals. For the first time in our nation’s history, after centuries of languishing in the obscurity of private hands, the complete set of original drafts and revisions of the United States Constitution have been made accessible to the American people. “These are the most constitutionally significant documents in American history,” says Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the NCC. The exhibit utilizes interactive touchscreen displays that explain the meaning of the language in the documents and map how it has changed from draft to draft, and who was behind these changes — how the Constitution was conceived, argued over, revised and revised again. American Treasures not only gives you a deeper understanding of what democratic principles like “liberty” and “justice” mean in the American experience, it will deepen your appreciation for just how precious and rare these founding principles were at the time of the nation’s birth and remain so even to this day, and why we can never let them be taken away from us. – MAX ABRAMS

AMERICAN TREASURES: DOCUMENTING THE NATION’S FOUNDING IS NOW ON DISPLAY AT THE NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER IN PHILADELPHIA

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