chapter  5
29 Pages

On This Day, One Hundred Years Ago

The Constitution of the United States was kept folded up in a little tin box in the lower part of a closet, while the Declaration of Independence, mounted with all elegance, was exposed to the view of all in the central room of the library. Throughout 1887 a basic tension persisted between all of the hopeful hyperbole and, in the words of the chief marshal for civic and industrial events, “the entire absence of any interest or general sentiment in favor of the proposed celebration on the part of the public at large.” Interstate rivalries and multiple anniversaries only begin to explain the Commission’s problems. Achieving full participation by all of the states, one of the Commission’s paramount goals, posed an immense problem. Full participation meant, at the very least, sending a military unit and the presence of the state’s governor.