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The Constitutional Convention

Ella Bilu—The Milking Cat


On a sunny October day in southern-California, 16 juniors at my all-girls high school assembled at 9 a.m. to reenact the Constitutional Convention, a pivotal moment in American history. To consider this to be anything less than cosplay would be wrong as one girl (myself) dressed up in a white bonnet and 18th century style dress. On that day, we were tasked with debating the Bill of Rights, the Virginia and New Jersey Plans, slavery, and the Role and Power of the Executive, all very serious issues. 


As I looked around at my classmates, I could not help but think that each of the men in that sweaty room hundreds of years ago would have had a stroke if they saw us. Not only were we young women getting a quality education, but we were modern teenage girls. 


To the left of me, there was a girl dressed in a Brandy Melville sweater that said “Boston 1773,” and Ugg boots, as well as having a light blue Stanley cup filled to the brim with an iced Matcha latte on her desk. To the right of me sat a girl wearing a black Urban Outfitters corset, a khaki skirt (per my school’s uniform), black eyeliner and blue mascara, and hot pink crocs. At the center of the room was our leader, George Washington, except this George Washington was a theater kid with bright pink hair and Doc Marten boots. 


The most appalling thing to founding fathers would probably be our laptops and their stickers. Not only do we have the ability to type our notes on our laptop, but we can also listen to Nicki Minaj on YouTube and watch Chamoy Pickle tastings on TikTok. On our laptops, there were stickers that said, ‘Fuck the Patriarchy,’ ‘God’s a Woman,’ ‘No Uterus No Opinion,’ ‘Chill Since 1999,’ and probably the most surprising to them, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ 


Our class time is only 70 minutes long and with so much to cover, we did not get to spend as much time as we needed on every single topic. We rushed to quote Britannica articles on our supposed stances on the format of government and yelled at classmates we disagreed with. Every time a controversial and often abhorrent opinion was stated, girls would always preface with, “I absolutely do not agree with what I am about to say but…” 


As much as I was fighting for American Democracy while I took on the role of John Adams, I was also fighting for my grade. So, I made sure to properly research how I, John, felt about certain issues. I read primary sources from well after the actual convention and dug through sketchy university sources from 2008. In the end, through yelling at my fellow founding fathers with a slight British accent, I walked away with an A. But perhaps, I am most happy about getting to wear my Abigail Adams costume (as I played her husband) one more time, the last being in my 6th grade reenactment of her. 


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