Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is observed each year on September 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”
This commemoration had its origin in 1940, when Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing and requesting the President to issue annually a proclamation setting aside the third Sunday in May for the public recognition of all who had attained the status of American citizenship. The designation for this day was “I Am an American Day.”
In 1952 Congress repealed this joint resolution and passed a new law moving the date to September 17 to commemorate “the formation and signing, on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution of the United States.” The day was still designated as “Citizenship Day” and retained its original purpose of recognizing all those who had attained American citizenship. This law urged civil and educational authorities of states, counties, cities and towns to make plans for the proper observance of the day and “for the complete instruction of citizens in their responsibilities and opportunities as citizens of the United States and of the State and locality in which they reside.”
In 2004 under Senator Byrd’s urging, Congress changed the designation of this day to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” and added two new requirements in the commemoration of this Day. The first is that the head of every federal agency provide each employee with educational and training materials concerning the Constitution on September 17th. The second is that each educational institution which receives Federal funds should hold a program for students every September 17th.
On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created. We encourage all Americans to observe this important day in our nation’s history by attending local events in your area. Celebrate Constitution Day through activities, learning, parades and demonstrations of our Love for the United State of America and the Blessings of Freedom Our Founding Fathers secured for us.
Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787 by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Publicly funded educational institutions and federal agencies celebrate the day by providing educational programming about the history of the Constitution.
From the Law Library of Congress. Background of Constitution Day, with links to primary and secondary sources.
Celebrated on September 17, Constitution Day, also known as Constitution and Citizenship Day, honors the document that guarantees Americans their essential rights. Since its ratification in 1787, the Constitution of the United States has served as the basis for all U.S. laws.
The National Constitution Center brings together people of all ages and perspectives, across America and around the world, to learn about, debate, and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution.
Constitution Day Resources
The following are links to resources about the U.S. Constitution. You may find them useful as you study our nation’s Constitution.
- The Federalist Papers (written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to explain the Constitution to the people of America, and to garner their support for it.)
- The Library of Congress
- U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
- National Constitution Center
LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION
Lyrics to the Schoolhouse Rock version of Preamble: for a nostalgic glance at a popular 1970’s piece that was, for the parents of many of today’s college students, their first exposure to the U.S. Constitution.
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