Constitution Day, date, important, celebrate, Activities
Constitution Day is an international American national observance which recognizes the adoption of our nation’s Constitution and all those who have earned the right to citizenship as a direct result of the Constitution. It is usually celebrated on September 17, the anniversary of the adoption of our nation’s Constitution when delegates to the Constitutional Convention voted to approve the document at Philadelphia. Since our nation’s Constitution was adopted over a century ago, there are nearly a half-century worth of celebrations marking the day. In many communities around the nation, a barbecue or picnic is planned to celebrate Constitution Day.
What date is Constitution Day?
The first President of the United States was George Washington, and he proclaimed Decoration Day in his honor. Since 1787, the date on which the Constitution was adopted, there have been many other historical and contemporary ceremonies and events marking the day. One of the most recent and relevant examples is the determination of September 21st as Constitution Day, when members of Congress and the public are encouraged to observe the Constitution wherever it is, including the courthouse doors. On this day, citizens are also asked to sign a pledge recognizing the Constitution as the ultimate source of government power.
What is Constitution Day and why do we celebrate it?
Constitution Day Activities for Students
On September 17, schools across the country will dig into the U.S. Constitution—4,400 words that define how our government works. A 2004 law signed by President George W. Bush established September 17 as Constitution Day (previously known as Citizenship Day). The law requires government employees and schools that receive federal funds to devote time on this day to learning about this 233-year-old document. An older law, established in 1956, sets aside September 17–23 as Constitution Week. Celebrate the freedoms this document grants us in September and all year long!
Constitution Day Activities for Elementary, Middle, and High School Students
There are various reasons why the United States Constitution should be remembered on a national and global scale on Constitution Day. Not only is the document the basis for our country’s system of checks and balances, but it is also the primary source of freedom, liberty, and the rule of law. This statement in a single sentence from the Constitution demonstrates how important individual rights are to the well being of Americans. There is no doubt that without the Bill of Rights and the guarantee of rights derived from that document, freedom, liberty, and the rule of law would have much more restrictions and limitations than they do today.
- Democracy at Play (Educational Games; Grades 3–12)
- Celebrate Your Rights (Poetry/Song Writing; Grades K–12)
- A Classroom Bill of Rights (Persuasive Writing; K–12)
- Constitutional Convention Up–Close (Art Analysis; K–12)
- Room for Debate (Opinion Writing; Grades 5–12)
- Presidential Powers (Research; Grades 3–8)
Today, many people commemorate Constitution Day by visiting the national archives and studying about its history. In doing so, one will be able to see how it indirectly affected our nation’s growth and development. The framers of the Constitution undoubtedly intended that the document be a lasting foundation for freedom, liberty, and the rule of law. In keeping with the ideals set forth by the Constitution, the national archives will always display information about our government’s laws and the way in which they were implemented by our government. One can easily learn about the principles expressed in the Constitution through this medium.
Why is the Constitution Day important?
Some notable individuals have actually made visits to the national archives in an effort to learn more about the Constitution. For example, George Washington, our first president, specifically noted on his presidential inauguration that “the separation of religion and government” was among his greatest priorities. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. President, wrote that he looked forward to September as “the perfect day when the Constitution of the United States will be submitted to the people for their adoption.” Chief Justice John Roberts, in his opinion concurring in the judgment of the Supreme Court, also indicated that September is “a good time to undertake work designed to prepare the Nation for the future.” In other words, citizens are encouraged to study the Constitution since its inception.
Now that we have established what is involved in celebrating Constitution Day, how can we celebrate it best? We can start by remembering that our politicians, both federal and state, need our help on this important occasion. Indeed, it is not just the executive and legislative branches that need our vote, but the grassroots as well. Indeed, we can all play our part in ensuring that our representatives know exactly what we expect from them and work diligently to ensure that our representatives reflect that we as citizens expect from them.
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