Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent out of the States current the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand also seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the twelfth….
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I am regularly asked about this recommendation when answering concerns around my book Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction.
The expression “Year of our Lord,” which is the only recommendation to God in the United States Constitution, was, of course, a standard eighteenth-century means of referencing the date. It reminds us that the Constitution was written in a different human being than our very own. Today we execute not usually refer to the date this method. In the eighteenth century they did. The past is indeed a foreign country.
How did this recommendation to “the Year of our Lord” uncover its way right into the Constitution?
We recognize that the expression “Year of our Lord” was not included in the draft of the Constitution that was apverified by the Convention. On Monday, September 17, 1787, James Madichild moved that
the Constitution be signed by the members and available the following as a convenient form viz. “Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the States current the 17th of Sepr. & c.—In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names.“
After some more discussion that day (unpertained to the “Year of our Lord” phrase) many of the members voted to give the document. The wording of the final clause that they apconfirmed was different from the wording that would certainly inevitably appear in the last Constitution. The new wording contained the phrase “Year of our Lord.”
In case you desire to research study this for yourself, check out:
Max Farrand also, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 Volume II, (New Haven: Yale College Press, 1911). pp. 643ff.
So, once aobtain, just how did this phrase make it right into the draft we have actually today? I don’t recognize. The expression was not in the draft that the members of the Convention voted on and also it might not have showed up on the draft that the framers signed. Daniel Dreisbach, in a 1996 article in the Baylor Law Resee (Vol. 48, p. 967) says that the recommendation to “The Year of our Lord” at the end of the Constitution “might have actually been merely a scrivener’s touch.” (He likewise cites a 1991 doctdental dissertation from the University of Dallas: Archie P. Jones, “Christianity and the Constitution: The Intended Meaning of the Religion Claoffers of the First Amendment, p.258, note 5).
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The evidence accessible argues that the expression “Year of our Lord” was not component of the document apshowed by the members of the Constitutional Convention, however was probably added to the record at some point after the meeting.