On Sept. 22, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution, a written charter for a new federal government. The delegates convened in Philadelphia to develop a framework that would provide balance and freedom, taking into account federal and state interests, as well as individual human rights. By June 21, 1788, the Constitution was effective, having been approved by nine of the 13 states.
In 2005 Congress designated September 17 as a day "to hold educational programs for students" on the Constitution. Authorizing legislation states that all educational institutions and federal agencies receiving federal funds will hold educational programs about the Constitution on September 17-Constitution Day. Constitution Day is a day for ALL Americans to commemorate the Constitution.
This year, 2012, the nation marks the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. The two and a quarter centuries that have elapsed since that great milestone have proven the enduring nature of the Framers’ vision. The U.S. Constitution, which remains the cornerstone of our constitutional democracy, has become an internationally recognized and celebrated model for creating a system of government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Looking for a way to hold history in your hands? Or do you want a way to help students or other community members connect with the Constitution? The ABA offers a Pocket Guide to the U.S. Constitution. Bulk discounts are available.
In anticipation of Constitution Day, earlier this year we took our cameras to Kenwood Academy in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood and asked students to discuss their views on the U.S. Constitution. The excellent, well-thought out responses we received demonstrate that at 225 years old, the Constitution remains very vibrant in the hearts and minds of the nation's youth.
Ten fun facts about the Constitution and Constitution Day (National Constitution Center)
On Nov. 6, 2012, Americans will go the polls to elect a president. The procedure for electing a president is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution. Originally, it was mostly up to the states to set up voter eligibility requirements. Voting was largely limited to white males.
The Civil War and Women's Suffrage Movement led to constitutional amendments that expanded the right to vote to African Americans and women. Native Americans gained the right to vote with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s fought against state laws that infringed on voting rights.
The following are few voting-related links. Remember: The right to vote is precious. Make sure to exercise yours on Nov. 6!