Monday, September 17, 2012

Who is the Forgotten Man?

Every would-be lawyer who studies law in the United States takes a course on the United States Constitution. We hold that document in deep reverence since it lays out the fundamental structure of our government and our laws.

Today, September 17, 2012, is the 225th anniversary of the signing of our Constitution. We celebrate Constitution Day, when thirty-nine brave men signed their names to the revolutionary document.

Interactive Painting of the Signing of the American Constitution

Two weeks ago, on Labor Day, my husband and I visited Montpelier, the home of James Madison, in rural Virginia. It had been 5 years since we were last there, at which time they were in the midst of restoring the mansion to its status when the Madison family owned the estate. The DuPont family had purchase the estate in the 1800s, and they built several additions onto the mansion over the decades that it was in the family. When the estate was eventually in the hands of the U.S. government, after the death of Marion DuPont, the decision was made to restore rather than preserve the mansion.

This train station serviced Montpelier estate. Notice that the station was segregated until the mid 20th century. The Madison's estate owned slaves for many decades, despite reports of Madison's personal aversion to the practice.

The estate has been restored to its status when the Madison family owned it,
prior to several additions by the DuPont family.
Bust of Madison in new visitor center.

Madison's tombstone in family cemetery.

Recreation of DuPont ballroom in the new visitor center.

Many people do not know that James Madison was the principle architect of the Constitution. He spent years in his study at Montpelier studying the governing structures of countries throughout history to pull together the best and most appropriate for the fledgling country that he loved. His research and study led to the Virginia Plan, which was the blueprint for the Constitution. Madison was a very young man at the time, and his brilliance was legendary. A visit to Montpelier will give you a first hand experience of what he saw on a daily basis while he drafted the document that allowed those who came before us to make this country the greatest that the world has ever known. So is James Madison "the Forgotten Man?"

Although Madison's contributions to this country's founding are not widely known, he is not the Forgotten Man of whom I write. Sadly, our Constitution is being trampled today. Artist Jon McNaughton is not afraid to reflect this abomination in picture, using his God-given talents. This video depicts him whom McNaughton sees as the Forgotten Man, along with how he envisions all the presidents as they would view what is happening in this country today.

So, you and I are the Forgotten Man.

But, although forgotten by our president, we are not forgotten by Hillsdale College. We are also blessed to have FREE access to many of their amazing resources. Hillsdale College offers an online course on the Constitution. Part One is already finished and remains available on the Hillsdale website. Part Two is under way, and you can sign up to get weekly email notices when each new episode is available. This course should be mandatory for every American high school-age child. To read more about this amazing free offer, go to If the schools will not avail themselves of this course, we must do it ourselves.

So now, before you go, I challenge you to go take this quiz on the Constitution. I did not do half bad. I did half good. And that's after visiting Montpelier 2 weeks ago today! I need to retake the Hillsdale course!

We the People must appreciate, protect, and defend the greatest document ever written! Happy 225th birthday, Constitution! And thank you, James Madison.

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