Constitution Day History
Constitution Day commemorates the adoption of the United States Constitution and celebrates the citizens of the United States. The Constitution was written because the existing charter of government, known as the Articles of Confederation, had resulted in creating a weak and ineffective central government. The Constitution defines the supreme law of the United States, with each article of the constitution pertaining to aspects such as the congress, president, judicial system, interrelationship between the state and federal government and process of amendments to the Constitution. James Madison, Oliver Ellsworth, Nathaniel Gorham, Alexander Hamilton, William Johnson, Rufus King, Gouverneur Morris, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington wrote the Constitution.
Constitution Day originally began in 1939 with the suggestion of a holiday to celebrate American Citizenship. President Harry Truman then declared that the third Sunday of May become I am American Day. A decade later, 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower changed the date to coincide with the signing of the Constitution and renamed it Citizenship Day. Constitution or Citizenship Day is observed annually on September 17th, the same day as the US Constitution was signed in 1787.
Constitution Day Facts & Quotes
- The 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution was celebrated in 2012. Of all international constitutions written, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.
- The Constitution is a short document with only 4,543 words before the amendments. In contrast, the Bible is approximately 20 times longer, while Harry Potter has approximately 70,000 more words.
- More than 11,000 amendments have been proposed in Congress. However, only 27 amendments received approval to become official amendments to the Constitution.
- The words God and Democracy are not found in the United States Constitution.
Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins -tweet by President Barack Obama on June 26, 2015. This after US Supreme Court ruled on this day that same-sex marriage is a right protected by the United States Constitution.
Constitution Day Top Events and Things to Do
- To learn more about judicial system, read the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is only a few pages in length and well-organized.
- Visit the National Museum of American History to view displays about the heritage of the United States. Displays include those related to the political, social, cultural, scientific and military history of the United States, including the Constitution. The museum is located in Washington D.C.
- The United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and accepted at the floors of Independence Hall, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Visit Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Visit the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It offers a range of activities for kids and adults, videos and educational material about the U.S. Constitution.
- Watch documentaries relating to the United States Constitution including Constitution USA with Peter Sagal (2013), The Constitution Project (The Documentary Group, 2014), and The United States Constitution (2007).