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Constitution Day: Home

U.S. Constitution and Founding Documents

Constitution Day is September 17th!

"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."

Preamble to the Constitution

National Constitution Center

National Constitution Center  

Visit them online, until you have the opportunity to visit them in Philadelphia. They offer a wealth of information about the Constitution and its signers.

Printable PDF Constitution

Constitution Day activities and resources

Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline

National Constitution Center Constitution Day Celebration  
For even more resources, the National Constitution Center and its partners provide a searchable catalog of resources for educators with a wide range of materials and information in support of Constitution Day.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress: 

Primary Documents in American History: United States Constitution

The Library of Congress pulls together links to its numerous online resources, including the Broadsides collection described below, for this one-stop collection guide. A highlight is the set of digitized volumes from Max Farrand's The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Farrand’s Records includes the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, and the notes and letters of James Madison and other participants.

Other resources linked from this page include the digitized papers of James Madison from the Library’s Manuscript Division and Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention Broadsides CollectionPart of the Library’s American Memory offerings, this digitized collection holds hundreds of documents relating to the work of the Continental Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. It features an early printing of the Constitution.

The Broadsides Collection page also links to supplemental teaching material. The web presentation “To Form a More Perfect Union” includes a section on Creating a Constitution, which links to the documents — including the 1787 committee draft of the Constitution — within the context of the historical narrative. The Broadsides page also links to related curriculum material called Collection Connections.

Federalist Papers

Fast Facts from the National Constitution Center

Fast Facts from the National Constitution Center:

The U.S. Constitution was written in the same Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington received his commission as Commander of the Continental Army. Now called Independence Hall, the building still stands today on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, directly across from the National Constitution Center.

 Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed on September 17th. But it wasn't until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states.

  • The U.S. Constitution was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries. Some of the original framers and many delegates in the state ratifying conventions were very troubled that the original Constitution lacked a description of individual rights. In 1791, Americans added a list of rights to the Constitution. The first ten amendments became known as The Bill of Rights.
  • Of the 55 delegates attending the Constitutional Convention, 39 signed and 3 delegates dissented.
  • Two of America's "founding fathers" didn't sign the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was representing his country in France and John Adams was doing the same in Great Britain.
  • Established on November 26, 1789, the first national "Thanksgiving Day" was originally created by George Washington as a way of "giving thanks" for the Constitution.
  • Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.
  • At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest.
  • The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping.
  • More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty three have gone to the states to be ratified and twenty seven have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become amendments to the Constitution.

Resources for Educators

Annenberg Classroom

This website connects award-winning, comprehensive curriculum on the Constitution and its amendments to daily civics news and student discussion.  Updated frequently

Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids  Official government information aimed at elementary and secondary students.

Civics Renewal Network  

Resources for teachers including games, downloadable t-shirt graphic for students and a challenge to recite the preamble in class.

EDSITEment Resources

Free Ed Resources for Educators
Combining resources from over 30 Federal agencies this site has been providing free materials for educators since 1997. Don't miss the link to Other Constitutional Resources to see all 36 items linked from their site.

Library of Congress Constitution Day Resources

A variety of materials from across Library of Congress collections. Use these resources and features to learn more about the Constitution.

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Jane Cramer
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Other Resources

Law Library of Congress (LoC) Guide to Law Online: U.S. Constitution

Texts, Commentaries, Historical Texts and Judicial Decisions

Cornell Law Legal Information Institute

Annotated Constitution If you want a more in-depth look at the Constitution this site offers commentary, notes and amendments including the ones that were not ratified.

The Founders' Constitution

Use the side navigation (Contents) to access core texts and analysis.  Hailed as "the Oxford English Dictionary of American constitutional history," the print edition of The Founders' Constitution has proved since its publication in 1986 to be an invaluable aid to all those seeking a deeper understanding of one of our nation's most important legal documents.

United States Senate: The Constitution

Places each section of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and subsequent amendments alongside brief and simple explanations. The Senate website also has a Constitution Day page.

Yale Avalon Project: The American Constitution: A Documentary Record

Starting with the Magna Carta and other early governance documents followed by historical documents arranged under the following headings: Roots of the Constitution; Revolution and Independence; Credentials of the Members of the Federal Convention; The Constitutional Convention; and Ratification and Formation of the Government. In addition to the Constitution, documents include the English Bill of Rights from 1689; original American state constitutions from 1776; variant texts of plans proposed at the Constitutional Convention; and the ratification documents from individual states.