The Public Interest

The Constitution and American diversity

Nathan Glazer

Winter 1987

THE CELEBRATION of the framing of the American Constitution comes close upon the heels of the celebration of the hundredth anniversary and rededication of the Statue of Liberty. This is, of course, sheer accident: The Statue was originally intended to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and it was only the difficulty of raising the money to finish it and erect the pedestal on which it was to stand that delayed its completion ten years, almost in time for it to mark the hundredth anniversary of the other great founding document of the American Republic, the Constitution. And one might well think that if the Statue were to celebrate the Constitution, there would be an interesting clash between what the Constitution says (or rather does not say) and what the Statue has come to symbolize in the popular mind.

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