September 17, 1787: Benjamin Franklin Speech —— his thoughts about the Constitution


Mr. President:

I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.

Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele, a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong.

But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain french lady, who in a dispute with her sister, said “I don’t know how it happens, Sister but I meet with no body but myself, that’s always in the right”—Il n’y a que moi qui a toujours raison.”

In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an Assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good—I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad—Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die—If every one of us in returning to our Constituents were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavor to gain partizans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects & great advantages resulting naturally in our favor among foreign Nations as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength & efficiency of any Government in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends. on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of the Government, as well as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its Governors. I hope therefore that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution (if approved by Congress & confirmed by the Conventions) wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts & endeavors to the means of having it well administered.

On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility—and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.”—He then moved that the Constitution be signed by the members and offered the following as a convenient form viz.

“Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the States present the 17th. of Sepr. &c—In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names.”

1940 – Booker T. Washington became the first black to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp.


BTW Stamp
This Booker T. Washington stamp was part of a series depicting influential educators. (Smithsonian National Postal Museum)

How Booker T. Washington Became the First African-American on a U.S. Postage Stamp
At the time, postage stamps usually depicted white men

By Erin Blakemore
smithsonianmag.com

The person in question was Booker T. Washington, the legendary educator and author who went from slave to esteemed orator and founder of the Tuskegee Institute. Washington’s inclusion on not one, but two postage stamps during 1940 represented a postal first—one that was hard-fought and hard-won.

To understand just how important it was to see a person of color on a U.S. postage stamp, you need only imagine what stamps looked like during the first half of the 20th century. Daniel Piazza, chief curator of philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, tells Smithsonian.com that at the time, the only subjects thought worthy of being depicted on stamps were “presidents and generals and such,” white men whose national stature was deemed significant enough to rate inclusion on the nation’s envelopes.

By 1940, women had only appeared on stamps eight times—three of which were depictions of Martha Washington, and two of which were fictitious women. In the 1930s, controversy broke out over whether the Post Office Department should issue a stamp that portrayed Susan B. Anthony and celebrated women’s suffrage as opposed to stamps that portrayed military figures. Anthony’s supporters prevailed, and the struggle in turn inspired a black newspaper to ask why there were no African-American people on U.S. postage. “There should be some stamps bearing black faces,” wrote the paper.

smithsonianmag.com

history… April 7


1712 – A slave revolt broke out in New York City.

1798 – The territory of Mississippi was organized.

1862 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant defeated Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh, TN.

1864 – The first camel race in America was held in Sacramento, California.

1888 – P.F. Collier published a weekly periodical for the first time under the name “Collier’s.”

1922 – U.S. Secretary of Interior leased Teapot Dome naval oil reserves in Wyoming.

1927 – The first long-distance TV transmission was sent from Washington, DC, to New York City. The audience saw an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover.

1930 – The first steel columns were set for the Empire State Building.

1933 – Prohibition ended in the United States.

1940 – Booker T. Washington became the first black to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp.

1943 – British and American armies linked up between Wadi Akarit and El Guettar in North Africa to form a solid line against the German army.

1945 – The Japanese battleship Yamato, the world’s largest battleship, was sunk during the battle for Okinawa. The fleet was headed for a suicide mission.

1948 – The musical “South Pacific” by Rogers and Hammerstein debuted on Broadway.

1948 – The United Nations’ World Health Organization began operations.

1953 – The Big Four met for the first time in 2 years to seek an end to their air conflicts.

1953 – IBM unveiled the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine. It was IBM’s first commercially available scientific computer.

1957 – The last of New York City’s electric trolleys completed its final run from Queens to Manhattan.

1963 – At the age of 23, Jack Nicklaus became the youngest golfer to win the Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament.

1963 – Yugoslavia proclaimed itself a Socialist republic.

1963 – Josip Broz Tito was proclaimed to be the leader of Yugoslavia for life.

1966 – The U.S. recovered a hydrogen bomb it had lost off the coast of Spain.

1967 – Israel reported that they had shot down six Syrian MIGs.

1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material.

1970 – John Wayne won his first and only Oscar for his role in “True Grit.” He had been in over 200 films.

1971 – U.S. President Nixon pledged to withdraw 100,000 more men from Vietnam by December.

1980 – The U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Iran and imposed economic sanctions in response to the taking of hostages on November 4, 1979.

1983 – Specialist Story Musgrave and Don Peterson made the first Space Shuttle spacewalk.

1983 – The Chinese government canceled all remaining sports and cultural exchanges with the U.S. for 1983.

1985 – In Goteborg, Sweden, China swept all of the world table tennis titles except for men’s doubles.

1985 – In Sudan, Gen. Swar el-Dahab took over the Presidency while President Gaafar el-Nimeiry was visiting the U.S. and Egypt.

1985 – The Soviet Union announced a unilateral freeze on medium-range nuclear missiles.

1987 – In Oklahoma a 16-month-old baby was killed by a pit bull. On the same day a 67-year-old man was killed by another pit bull in Dayton, OH.

1988 – Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to final terms of a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Soviet troops began leaving on May 16, 1988.

1988 – In Fort Smith, AR, 13 white supremacists were acquitted on charges of plotting to overthrow the U.S. federal government.

1989 – A Soviet submarine carrying nuclear weapons sank in the Norwegian Sea.

1990 – In the U.S., John Poindexter was found guilty of five counts at his Iran-Contra trial. The convictions were later reversed on appeal.

1990 – At Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center a display of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs went on display. On the same day the center and its director were indicted on obscenity charges. The charges resulted in acquittal.

1994 – Civil war erupted in Rwanda between the Patriotic Front rebel group and government soldiers. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered in the months that followed.

1998 – Mary Bono, the widow of Sonny Bono, won a special election to serve out the remainder of her husband’s congressional term.

1999 – Yugoslav authorities sealed off Kosovo’s main border crossings to prevent ethnic Albanians from leaving.

2000 – U.S. President Clinton signed the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000. The bill reversed a Depression-era law and allows senior citizens to earn money without losing Social Security retirement benefits.

2002 – The Roman Catholic archdiocese announced that six priests from the Archdiocese of New York were suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct.

2006 – The Boeing X-37 conducted its first flight as a test drop at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.

2009 – Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for ordering killings and kidnappings by security forces.

Source: on-this-day.com