Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®
One of my hobbies, if you can call it that, is American history – particularly the period between 1765 and 1800.
It was during that 35-year period that the colonies declared their independence, and began a rebellion that morphed into a full-fledged revolution (which had NO chance of success) that defeated the largest and best-equipped fighting force on earth.
During the summer of 1787, the best minds the colonies could produce met in Philadelphia to hammer-out a framework of government. While Adams and Madison had performed extensive research on the history of republics, they had to make adjustments because few lasted very long and all had failed.
The resulting constitution provided the framework of government that became a reality in 1789 when George Washington took office as the first President of the United States. The new government was funded by a financial genius Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. The funding came from a bank he founded: The Bank of New York (now BNY Mellon, which owns Pershing).
The Constitution they created that summer, that we still have today, is – are you ready? – the oldest functioning constitution in the world today. No country anywhere on our planet is operating under a constitution older than ours…. Not Greece, not France, not Italy, no one.
It says something about the minds that met in Philadelphia that summer. Each of them brought something unique and brilliant to the table. Few people realize that the banking system, credit and stock markets, our system of trade, including the customs service, were all designed by Alexander Hamilton. He’s one founding father that could walk into our financial system today and recognize all of it, maybe except the machines, because he created it all.
James Madison, the father of the Constitution, would probably be amazed to see that the constitution still lives, albeit with expected amendments since that process was provided for in the original document. All other constitutions in existence around the world at that time are no longer around.
Enjoy the holiday! This one is one of the great birthdays we celebrate.