The following is a transcript of the remarks of Democratic Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, delivered March 18, 2008, in Philadelphia at the Constitution Center. In it, Obama addresses the role race has played in the presidential campaign. He also responds to criticism of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an unpaid campaign adviser and pastor at Obama’s Chicago church. Wright has made inflammatory remarks about the United States and has accused the country of bringing on the Sept. 11 attacks by spreading terrorism.
“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union …” — 221 years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars, statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.