Celebrating Constitution Day Sept. 17

Who didn’t have to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution in elementary school of middle school? Those familiar words mean something and lead into one of the most important documents on the planet.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Preamble to the Constitution

Constitution Day is celebrated every year on September 17. This special day marks the signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787.

If James Madison was the Constitution’s chief architect, as some textbooks say, then Washington was its general contractor in that he, more than anyone, got the work done.

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By 1787, the union between the young states had started to fail due to various conflicts. Under the leadership of George Washington, representatives from 12 states met in Philadelphia to solve the problems, create a new form of government and stabilize the new nation. Washington the statesman is credited with creating an environment that encouraged convention members to reach the necessary compromises. There our Constitution was born.

I Am an American Day

It was not until 1940 that the earliest form of this important day was celebrated, even though we had already commemorated Independence Day and Washington’s Birthday. “I am an American Day” was celebrated on the third Sunday of May in 1940 to commemorate American citizenship. The holiday caught on across the United States.

Citizenship Day

The date was eventually changed to September 17 during the 1950s when the name of the day was also changed to “Citizenship Day.”

Constitution Day

However, we would wait until 2004 before Congress would name September 17 as Constitution Day along with Citizenship Day. All public schools and government offices are supposed to present educational programs to educate people about constitutional literacy and our country’s origins.

Today Constitution Day is a time to remember the history of our country, why the Constitution was crafted the way it was, and to honor the principles on which our nation was founded.

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