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101 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1987-1988)
Reflections on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution

handle is hein.journals/hlr101 and id is 19 raw text is: HARVARD LAW REVIEW
COMMENTARY
REFLECTIONS ON THE
BICENTENNIAL OF THE UNITED STATES
CONSTITUTION*
Thurgood Marshall**
The year 1987 marks the 2ooth anniversary of the United States
Constitution. A Commission has been established to coordinate the
celebration. The official meetings, essay contests, and festivities have
begun.
The planned commemoration will span three years, and I am told
1987 is dedicated to the memory of the Founders and the document
they drafted in Philadelphia.' We are to recall the achievements of
our Founders and the knowledge and experience that inspired the'm,
the nature of the government they established, its origins, its char-
acter, and its ends, and the rights and privileges of citizenship, as
well as its attendant responsibilities.2
Like many anniversary celebrations, the plan for 1987 takes par-
ticular events and holds them up as the source of all the very best
that has followed. Patriotic feelings will surely swell, prompting
proud proclamations of the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice
shared by the framers and reflected in a written document now yel-
lowed with age. This is unfortunate - not the patriotism itself, but
the tendency for the celebration to oversimplify, and overlook the
many other events that have been instrumental to our achievements
as a nation. The focus of this celebration invites a complacent belief
* Text of a speech delivered by Justice Thurgood Marshall at the Annual Seminar of the
San Francisco Patent and Trademark Law Association in Maui, Hawaii, on May 6, 1987.
Footnotes are as they appear in the original text of Justice Marshall's speech, except for changes
made by the Harvard Law Review to conform citations to HARVARD LAW REVIEW ASSOCIATION,
A UNIFORM SYSTEM OF CITATION (14th ed. I986).
** Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court.
I COMMISSION ON THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, PREPARA-
TION FOR A COMMEMORATION: FIRST FULL YEAR'S REPORT 6 (Sept. 1986).
2 COMMISSION ON THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, FIRST
REPORT 6 (Sept. 17, 1985).

NUMBER 1

VOLUME 101

NOVEMBER 1987

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