Rensselaer Libraries

Constitution Day

Posted: Sep 16, 2014


U. S. Constitution Day, September 17

Former President George W. Bush signed into law on December 8, 2004, Public Law 108-447, which establishes September 17th as Constitution Day, and requests educational programming on the U.S. Constitution at all federally funded institutions.

The law creating a federal Constitution Day requires each educational institution that receives federal funds, as well as all federal agencies, to provide materials about the Constitution on Sept. 17, commemorating the date in 1787 when the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the nation's charter.

Constitution Day is held on September 17, this year on September 16th, to recognize the signing of the United States Constitution on this day in 1787. This day is set aside for individuals and organizations to learn more about the Constitution and our founding Fathers. The following is a list, although not exhaustive, of web resources dedicated to the Federalist Papers, the Constitution and Constitution Day.

American Memory, from the Library of Congress.

“The Continental Congress Broadside Collection (253 titles) and the Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection (21 titles) contain 274 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Items include extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports, treaties, and early printed versions of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Most Broadsides are one page in length; others range from 1 to 28 pages. A number of these items contain manuscript annotations not recorded elsewhere that offer insight into the delicate process of creating consensus. In many cases, multiple copies bearing manuscript annotations are available to compare and contrast.”

Wikipedia Article on Constitution Day

"Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787. The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as "Citizenship Day". In addition to renaming the holiday "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day," the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. In May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind. This holiday is not observed by granting time off work for federal employees."

The Federalist Papers

“The Federalist Papers were a series of articles written under the pen name of Publius by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Madison, widely recognized as the Father of the Constitution, would later go on to become President of the United States. Jay would become the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Hamilton would serve in the Cabinet and become a major force in setting economic policy for the US. The entire purpose of The Federalist Papers was to gain popular support for the then-proposed Constitution. Some would call it the most significant public-relations campaign in history; it is, in fact, studied in many public relations classes as a prime example of how to conduct a successful campaign.”


“The Constitution of the United States comprises the primary law of the U.S. Federal Government. It also describes the three chief branches of the Federal Government and their jurisdictions. In addition, it lays out the basic rights of citizens of the United States. The Constitution of the United States is the oldest Federal constitution in existence and was framed by a convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen original states in Philadelphia in May 1787. The Constitution is the landmark legal document of the United States. Files are available in ASCII text and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF).”

The National Archives Experience

"View high resolution scans of the original, signed Constitution; obtain a transcription of the document; read an essay about the Constitutional convention; learn dozens of fascinating facts about the Constitution; and view images of the National Archives Rotunda, and learn about each of the signers at this site from the National Archives and Records Administration."

Thomas-Legislative Information on the Internet

This site offers a searchable copy of H.R. 4818: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005. Within this Act, Public Law 108-447 created Constitution Day. If one wishes to browse the whole Act, information pertaining to Constitution Day can be found under Section 111 of Division J- "Other Matters".
If one does not wish to browse through the whole Act, the following link will provide information pertaining to Constitution Day- Department Of Education

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