• Exploring American History

E Pluribus Unum

At the start of the nation now known around the world as the United States of America, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams together suggested the motto for the new country be E Pluribus Unum. This Latin phrase means ‘out of many – one.’ When the history of the US government’s foundation is studied, it is easy to see how appropriate a statement the founders chose.

Once independence was declared by the British colonists, now residing on the North American continent, a government of some sort would need to be created/adopted to keep things functioning in a civil manner. During the critical years of 1776-1790, a government was secured which showed the ability to survive and function. While in the making, the process of forming the government brought together man’s two perennially existing and conflicting points of view – that which is inherently inclined to evil and that which is innately good.

Scene One opened in Philadelphia in 1776 as a select body of men gathered together to represent each of the 13 colonies. These colonies were a mixed bag of terrains, locale and personalities. Some colonies were large in size (i.e. Virginia & Pennsylvania), whereas others quite small (Rhode Island & Maryland). Some are inland, others are seaboard communities. Some societies maintained traditional views while others held with a more radical inclination. The challenge would be to find a government under which all of these disparate elements could and would function.

It would be five years before a formal style of government was developed. After the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, the young nation found itself born into a predatory world, imparting to it the danger of national weakness and the challenge of growing chaos. The Constitutional Convention met in 1787 to begin the process of creating a workable government. Though the colonies had won their independence from Britain, little had occurred during that time that offered harmony towards the creation of the new government.

Once the combined compromises worked together to form a plan, the job was only half done. The process of ratification still lay ahead and brought to the table a whole new set of challenges with which to cope. These challenges would involve an amalgamation of threats, maneuvers and conciliation to reach the desired goal. When all was said and done, the outcome resulting from the energy, zeal, faith and maybe even a little dumb luck which went into the process is worthy of our deepest appreciation.

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