September 17 marks the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Constitution Day and Citizenship Day present an opportunity to learn more about the Constitution and the importance of active citizenship, in this, the world’s oldest democracy.
New Mexico’s Democrats proudly join proudly join in the observance of Constitution Day and joins our fellow citizens in urging all Americans to learn more about the basis of our government as well as become more active members in the civic life of our nation, our state, and our local communities. It is only through the participation of individual citizens that our republic can remain a healthy democracy and a beacon for the other nations of the world.
On September 17, 1787, the final draft of the Constitution was signed by 39 delegates. The document was then sent to the states for ratification, and went into effect on June 21, 1788 when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution.
The law establishing the present holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by former Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.VA) to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before the 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.
The United State Constitution
Resources for Teachers from the Library of Congress
- American Memory Timeline: Primary Source Excerpts and Discussion Questions Related to the Constitution
- Civics and Government: Themed Resources
- Constitution: Primary Source Set
- Creating the United States Constitution: Interactive Connect particular phrases and ideas set down in the Constitution with texts that preceded it.
- Creating the Bill of Rights: Interactive Connect particular phrases and ideas set down in the Bill of Rights with texts that preceded it.
- Creating the United States: Word Search Get acquainted with some of the words related to the founding documents of the United States. (Grades 3-6)
- The Constitution: Drafting a More Perfect Union Analyze George Washington’s annotated copy of an early draft of the Constitution. (Grades 9-12)
- The Bill of Rights: Debating the Amendments Examine the twelve amendments sent to the states and vote on which ten to ratify. (Grades 6-12)
- George Washington: First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen Explore Washington’s leadership in forging a new nation. Lesson Two. (Grades 8-12)
- The U.S. Constitution: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States Use primary sources to examine continuity and change in the governing of the United States. (Grades 6-12)