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What. College players present a patriotic play by Jack. USA Today's play is one of a series produced by the college radio players from the National Association of educational broadcasters. There's a fund for adult education of the Ford Foundation. We bring your friends. That was the beginning. We the People. Simple words written on a few sheets of parchment often little document less than 4000 words long. Yet this Constitution of ours changed the course of history established the greatest nation the world has seen created the climate of Liberty you and I enjoy today. What is it. How did it come about. Let's go back to the beginning. Gladstone famous 19th century English statesman called it the most wonderful work ever
struck off at a given moment by the brain. Charles Baird foremost American historian of the century called it a mosaic of second choice and the substantial benefits to flow from you and I Smith recently discharged Korean combat veteran had this to say. I'm not good it. Never was. But I do know this. A lot of the best friends I'll ever have their life over there on snipers Ridge. Point Hill and artillery Yeah. Yeah and there were others at the Battle of the Marne and well run. If it's worth dying for. It must be worth living for. Yes Smith It does. It means courage confidence and enduring faith and the best way of life yet devised. But let's find out what the Constitution meant to the brave little band of men who brought it into being one hundred and sixty five years ago. Let's turn back the calendar to September 17th
1787. For the next few minutes we would like to present that historic event as it might have been covered by one of our modern radio networks. We take you now to Philadelphia. To Philadelphia one hundred and sixty five years ago Philadelphia. Just outside the statehouse in Philadelphia. A crowd has been gathering all day people from every one of our 13 colonies All afternoon we've been awaiting the big announcement. But as yet there has been no official word Wait a moment. I've just been handed a note I'd like to read you president of the convention General Washington announces that the delegates are preparing to sign the document will be read from the steps of the hall in a very few minutes. No one knows what is in that document except the delegates inside the hall. No one else not even the press has been admitted to the secret meetings which started last May 14. While we're waiting I'd like to give you a picture of the scene reports. We have our microphones here on Walnut
Street in Philadelphia right in front of the red brick statehouse. It was here as you know on this very spot of the Declaration of Independence was read on July 4th 1776. It was in the same building that the Continental Congress held its first session. And it was here that General Washington was appointed to command the Continental Army. Several of Washington's veterans are in the crowd around me. Many are still wearing their braided uniforms and several bear the marks of. I wonder perhaps I can get one or two to say a few words. Could you talk to us for a moment. Depends if you ask me there's too much talk and not enough doing. Would you give us your name and where you're from. Joe Clancy Joe's from Colony of New Hampshire. Would you mind telling us why you traveled all the way down here to Philadelphia from New Hampshire all this inflation has got to stop. That's why I'm here. Colonies turning out money fast as a printing presses will roll. Got to stop. Got to have a national government General in that building. Yes General Washington is the presiding officer.
Good thing the general society is here to be for me is a moving pageant a well-appointed carriages drawn by spirited horses which prints soundlessly on the pack. You see at the very beginning of the meetings the couple stones were covered with dirt to prevent the clatter of wheels from disturbing the delegates. As I've been speaking the carriage of the charming Mrs. Robert Morris has pulled up across the street. She and her husband have been hosts to General Washington during his stay here in Philadelphia and who is not speaking to or why it's John Fish the eccentric inventor Mr. Fish. He's moving through the crowd. I hope that we might get him to say a few words. You'll recall you made the news recently when he demonstrated his new fangled boat on the Delaware River instead of being driven by sales in the conventional manner. It's propelled by 12 boys sex on each side which are powered by an ingenious steam engine. Now he's talking of adopting a steam driven wheel arrangement for his book A Luas purse demonstration went up without a doubt that steam will ever replace the sailing vessel continues to be the general consensus.
Just a moment please. There seems to be some excitement in front of the hall. Perhaps the delegates are coming out. I'll try to push my way through the crowd here please. Thank you. No I'm sorry but the big double doors are still closed. Now I see what the excitement is. Someone is moving around in the brick belfry above the hall. It may well be that they planned to herald the big announcement by sounding the huge Liberty Bell that hangs overhead from where I stand. You know we remember this was the same bell that announced our Declaration of Independence the following year in 1777. It was taken to Allentown Pennsylvania when the British were about to Occupy Philadelphia here. It was returned to the tower a year ago later. Ladies and gentlemen I have just received a signal from our engineer. Well I move inside the convention hall. I turn you over to my colleague Mr. Bunner who will give you a little of the background of this historic meeting. Thank you Bob. And good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any period in history has been marked by a more distinguished gathering of men than this. The constitutional convention
among the thirty nine delegates present there were fifty five originally are men of every shade of political thought reliant strong willed men who feel at their own best interest of the best interest of the country. They have left their businesses and families to come here to Philadelphia to serve at their own expense. And believe me that convention has occupied the thoughts of their every waking hour for the past four months. We don't know what has been taking place behind those closed doors but we do know some of the sessions have been stormy probably at times recriminations have been better. But if we can believe the rumors individual desires have been buried for the good of the Union. Of course first and foremost among these outstanding men is our own General Washington. Last month when he went with Governor Morris to revisit the scene of his greatest sorrow and triumph. Valley Forge several of his old comrades in arms walk many miles to be there with him again. This is the man who turned down a throne. You will recall that recently many of his ex officers pledged themselves to make him king of the United Colonies.
He refused instantly. It was a small boy he just broke from the crowd and ran up the steps of the hall about a fat man probably his father finally managed to get him and drag him back. The little tyke broke away and is running into the crowd. Oh and the man is right after aim. But another distinguished delegate to the idol of two continents is playing lovable old Ben Franklin. Perhaps the most widely read author of Our Times suave kindly Mr Franklin matched wits with the best diplomatic brains in Europe and beat them at their own game. Collarbone Ryszard in Paris the toast of the town in London. He's just Ben Franklin do most of us. But when the completed Constitution is read I'll bet you'll find that much of it is tempered by his common sense. His 81 years of experience with the foibles of man and those excitable autocratic Alexander Hamilton mild mannered unassuming Mr. Madison the real father of the Constitution has been the impetus that has carried this thing through to near completion. Nor must we forget why my good Governor Morris the expert on English styled it as he I understand has drawn up the final
draft of the Constitution. Then there's Governor Randolph of Virginia Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut James Wilson of Pennsylvania. Yes they're all here. The best men from 12 of our 13 colonies. Rhode Island has steadfastly refused to take part. One moment ladies and gentlemen I just received word that the delegates are signing. We switch you to inside convention hall to Bob. I'm speaking to you from the floor of convention hall one by one the delegates are filing forward to General Washington's desk at the front of the hall to affix their signatures to the document. General Washington gravely to each in turn as he steps up on the rostrum for four long months these men have been an almost constant session you can tell they're tired but there is a quiet confidence about him that Gerald. Yes right. Mr. Franklin has just addressed the chair. General Washington has recognized him. I beg you I direct the convention that I have
done behind being able to study but I have to have the writing and settings. This is Bob Banner outside the statehouse. The delegates are filing out. There's a distinguished looking Rufus King Massachusetts favorite of water and William Johnson of Connecticut president of Columbia College. This is a tense moment ladies and gentlemen. Little is known of what has happened behind the closed doors of the convention. One of these men accomplished how they simply strengthen the Articles of Confederation. Shall we continue on the same chaos of the past few years where have they exceeded their authority. Have they created a new government one that will endure no one knows there's a tenseness in the crowd around me. The clerk is coming forward wrestling several sheets of parchment in his hand. They're clearing a place for him on the steps and there's General Washington telling about the other delegates the years rest lightly upon his calm face his broad
shouldered erect figure his stern yet kindly expression marked him a leader among leaders. And there is the mischievous whimsical smile of Ben Franklin. Don't make him lean heavily upon his cane but he insist upon taking his place among the others. Another cook is raising his hand for silence. We the People of the United States in Order to form a justice insure domestic Tranquility provide for the common defense promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and gain and establish this Constitution of the United States. Yes we the people of the United States own a measurable debt of gratitude to the founding fathers of this nation. But for them we might well have become again subjects of an always determined to England for British forts were still maintained upon our borders or what might have been worse.
Each colony might have become a petty state and the American dream has become a nightmare of civil wars. Theirs was the courage to create an entirely new conception of government. Theirs was the sagacity to build solidly upon human understanding and common sense. Theirs was the vision to foresee the future. To create an instrument of government that is at once strong yet resilient firm yet ever bending to the popular will. Our debt to them can never be paid in money in mere words but only in deeds and I construct the faith in the future. Born from the babbling confusion of 13 squabbling colonies. Hardened in the second war with England in 1812 our Constitution received its trial by fire and our great Civil War and its wee dedication in World War 2. Yeah I was there I know. Sure we never talked about the Constitution. Maybe we couldn't even put into words those things for which we fought.
But yes we all know deep down inside of us there are forces dark sinister forces that would take away our heritage selfishness be it International our personnel will always seek to destroy liberty. Ours is a proud civilization but not too proud to ignore its own defects. The price of liberty. Dedicate ourselves to a hundred and sixty five years ago by our founding. Let us all pledge ourselves anew in the words of Abraham Lincoln to the result that the government of the people by the people and for the people shall not perish from the. That is our responsibility. Yours and mine. Let's keep the fight. College radio players have world premier blueprint USA by Jack
Porter. You heard Bob's The first announcer and Bob Honore as the second announcer. Others in today's cast included Jim Leavenworth Fred Thompson Jim stork Jerry Tomlinson Norman no and Charles Payne blueprint USA was directed by Herbert Prescott blueprint USA was presented under a grant from the NEA be sponsored by the fund for adult education of the Ford Foundation. Theme music was composed and played by Hoyle carpenter Herrick chapel organ Jim Leavenworth as your announcer reminding you that this has been a grand out college program. This is the end of work.
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Blueprint, U.S.A.
Producing Organization
Grinnell College
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
"Blueprint, U.S.A.", by Jack V. Porter. You will "be there" in this production featuring man-on-the-street coverage of the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Series Description
A series of 13 patriotic plays by professional freelance writers as edited and directed by Herbert Prescott with the Grinnell College Radio Players.
Broadcast Date
Performing Arts
Constitutional conventions--United States--Drama.
Media type
Actor: Leavenworth, Jim
Actor: Tomlinson, Jerry
Composer: Carpenter, Hoyle
Director: Prescott, Herbert
Funder: Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Performer: Burroughs, L.C.
Producing Organization: Grinnell College
Writer: Porter, Jack V.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-1-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:36
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Chicago: “Patrioscript; Blueprint, U.S.A.,” 1953-12-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Patrioscript; Blueprint, U.S.A..” 1953-12-14. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Patrioscript; Blueprint, U.S.A.. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from