On September 17, the United States celebrates an important anniversary. On that date in 1787, 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention added their signature to a document that would become the “supreme law of the land”—the U.S. Constitution. James Wilson, a delegate from Philadelphia, proudly stated that “it is the best form of government which has ever been offered to the world.”
In 1956, Congress established the days of September 17 through September 23, each year as Constitution Week. To honor the importance of the signing of the Constitution, President George W. Bush signed a declaration proclaiming September 17 (the day that the Constitution was officially signed) as Citizenship Day. Bush hoped that people across the country would organize ceremonies to honor the Constitution and celebrate American citizenship.
The Constitution of the United States is a complex document that has guided this nation for over 200 years. Scholars have spent their lives interpreting it and tracking its changes.
To help you better understand this most important document, the National Constitution Center has provided an Interactive Constitution on its Web site. This digital document will help you view the full text of the Constitution or break down your study into the document’s different parts. If you want to learn more about the Constitution, read through the FAQs.
Writing this document was a challenge for the early leaders of this country. But you should know that it wasn’t a simple task. Read this btw article about the changes made to the Declaration of Independence to get a sense of the rewriting that occurred in even our most famous founding documents.
- Visit the Web site of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia where the original document was created and signed.
- Review the information describing how to become a citizen of the United States via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services government Web site.
Can your school take the Preamble Challenge?
The Civics Renewal Network provides a handy Web site with lots of games, Constitution-based lessons, and other information to help you learn more about the United States’s founding document.
Learn how real-life debates around the meaning of the Constitution take place. Examine Street Law’s SCOTUS in the Classroom Web site.