How the Constitutional Convention Recreation prompted interest in current events
After the Constitutional Convention Recreation on Feb. 26, students spoke about the lessons they learned from the event and how it got them involved in learning more about our government.
Joshua Carlson, a student who played the role of William Findley, talked about what he got out of the event saying, “I found a new respect for the founding fathers.”
“I think like most Americans my understanding of the constitution was that it was this sacred document written by the brightest figures of the 18th century. After the event, I realize how much debate and discourse really went on, and how the heavens just didn’t open up and reveal this perfect document,” Carlson said.
Though Carlson saw students interested in learning and discussing the American government during the event, he doesn’t see a lot of interest in government overall.
“Many Americans tend to view the government as taboo mostly due to the political nature of it,” Carlson said.
“Just barely over half the country even votes for the president. It is hard to take away some of the biases that exist when discussing government, but an event like this that takes out the personal beliefs helps make students open to discourse,” Carlson said.
Zachery Tiedeman, who played the role of Alexander Hamilton, discussed how the event helped encourage students to participate in civil discourse.
“The event helped a lot with participating in civil discourse without judgment. It really re-enforced that there are many different views and goals in play and that the worst possible response is to refuse to acknowledge others’ views and goals,” Tiedeman said.
The Constitutional Convention Recreation required participants to work together and create the final draft of the Constitution together. Tiedeman talked about how he was able to make decisions with others in order to navigate throughout the event and how they were able to draft the final document.
“The event helped a lot with participating in civil discourse without judgment. It really re-enforced that there are many different views and goals in play and that the worst possible response is to refuse to acknowledge others’ views and goals.”Zachery Tiedeman, NDSU student
“When I had a clearer idea of what they were shooting for, I could adjust my own approach to work with them rather than against them, Tiedeman said.
This will be vital in figuring out how to work as a team and reach compromises in my personal life,” Tiedeman added.
Austin Cherkas, who played the role of Luther Martin, added to the idea of civil discourse and teamwork. “The Constitutional Convention was all about compromising and working with everybody,” Cherkas said.
Cherkas went on to explain how the event helped get students interested in events that are happening today.
“There’s a lot of similar backgrounds particularly with the power of the state versus the power of the federal government which is particularly a huge continuity that is being discussed both today and back then,” Cherkas said.
Carlson, Tiedeman and Cherkas all said that they learned a lot about their characters and the constitution after the recreation event.
“I did learn a ton at the Constitutional Convention that I’d never learned in school or in my extra studies,” Cherkas said.
In the future, Carlson, Tiedeman and Cherkas would like to have a set of rules they can navigate the event with.
“Our first session looks very different from the rest because people did not know they could negotiate, pause talks or do other things like that during the session,” Tiedeman said.
Other than a set of rules, the three students look forward to participating in the Constitutional Convention Recreation event in the future. Kali Christianson, the Outreach Specialist for Agribusiness and Applied Economics, said they are hoping to hold the event annually on Constitution Day in the fall.