History of Constitution Day
Commemorate Constitution Day on September 17
On this date in 1787 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution, a written charter for a new–and enduring–federal government. The delegates convened in Philadelphia to develop a framework that would provide balance and freedom, taking into account federal and state interests, as well as individual human rights. By June 21, 1788, the Constitution was effective, having been approved by nine of the 13 states.
In 2004, Congress required that all federally-funded schools observe “Constitution Day” by providing students with educational programs about the history and signing of the Constitution.
On December 8, 2004, President George W. Bush signed a bill designating September 17 as Constitution Day (if September 17 falls on a weekend, it may be observed another time around that date).
In May 2005, the US Department of Education, while announcing that all educational institutions receiving federal funding must observe Constitution Day, put forth guidelines stating educators are free to design Constitution Day programming that best addresses the needs of their students.
The goal of celebrating the September 17, 1787 signing of the US Constitution is to engage students in programming that will help them understand that citizen action and participation in government is the backbone of our country.
Lesson Planning Resources
- We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution
- Liberty Day
- Library of Congress
- National Archives: Resources
- National Constitution Center
- Bill of Rights Institute
- Constitutionally Speaking Video Series
- Study Guide for Civics Education in NH
- NH Dept. of Ed: Social Studies Curriculum
- Constitution Day & Citizenship Day Resources
- Constitutional Rights Foundation
- Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
- Landmark Supreme Court Cases
- Street Law