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At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, September 15-17, 1787, James Madison penned these words:

“Whilst the last members were signing [the Constitution], Dr. [Benjamin] Franklin, looking towards the president’s chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that painters had found it difficult to distinguish, in their art, a rising from a setting sun. ‘I have,’ said he, often and often, in the course of the session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the president, without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting; but now, at length, I have the happiness to know that it is a rising, and not a setting sun.’”

The Founding Fathers had accomplished what they had set out to do. With full pains of labor, they had given birth and were seeing the rise of a new nation.

SOURCE: SermonCentral Staff. Citation: Eyewitness to America. Edited by David Colbert. New York: Pantheon Books, 1997. Page 99.

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