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Proclamation 6283—Law Day, U.S.A., 1991

April 29, 1991

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

On this Law Day, held in the 200th year of our Bill of Rights, we give thanks for our Nation's enduring legacy of liberty under law. This legacy, ensured by our Constitution and Bill of Rights, has made the name "America" virtually synonymous with freedom.

Ratified and adopted as part of the Constitution in December 1791, the Bill of Rights signalled our Founders' determination to uphold their earlier declaration "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." No other document in the history of mankind has enumerated in a more fruitful manner the fundamental liberties to which all people are heirs.

James Madison once noted that the idea of a Bill of Rights was valuable because "political truths declared in that solemn manner acquire by degrees the character of fundamental maxims of free government." Indeed, the principles enshrined in our Bill of Rights have proved to be not only the guiding tenets of American government, but also a model for the world. Two hundred years after this great document was adopted by the Congress, we can behold its seminal role in the advancement of human rights around the world. The United Nations General Assembly affirmed the ideals enshrined in our Bill of Rights when it adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Those ideals were also affirmed in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The ideals set forth in our Bill of Rights and echoed in each of these later documents have triumphed in nations that once bore the heavy yoke of totalitarianism. In emerging democracies around the world, courageous peoples are striving to bring the tender shoots of freedom into full bloom, and they continue to look to America as a guide. Today we know that our ancestors gave freedom not only a name but also a future when they adopted the Bill of Rights.

On this occasion we do well to honor all those Americans who labor and sacrifice to defend our Bill of Rights and the rule of law. Today we salute with special pride and appreciation our courageous military personnel. Yet, in addition to our Armed Forces, many other Americans work daily to uphold the rule of law; indeed, we owe great thanks to police officers, judges, attorneys, and all those who serve in our Nation's independent judiciary or who otherwise labor to defend our Constitution. Law Day celebrates the efforts of these individuals and reminds each of us of the importance of understanding our rights and meeting our responsibilities as citizens of a free Nation.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, in accordance with Public Law 87-20 of April 7, 1961, do hereby proclaim May 1, 1991, as Law Day, U.S.A. I urge all Americans to observe this day by reflecting upon our rights and our responsibilities under the Constitution. I ask that members of the legal profession, civic associations, and the media, as well as educators, librarians, and government officials, promote the observance of this day through appropriate programs and activities. I also call upon all public officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on this day.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 29 day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6283—Law Day, U.S.A., 1991 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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