National Archives News

Celebrating Constitution Day

"We the People" Constitution clipping

George Washington is about to receive the draft of the Constitution from James Madison in this mural by Barry Faulkner in the National Archives Building in Washington.

September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Learn more about the U.S. Constitution through our public programs, family activities, and online resources.

Constitution Day 2017 - National Archives Naturalization Ceremony

Accordion 

DocsTeach Constitution Day Helps educators locate primary sources from the National Archives that document the creation and structure of our government.

Teaching & Learning Resources Find the special Constitution iBook for iPad and other resources, available for download from iTunes U and in the iBookstore.

Professional Development for educators via webinar

Constitution Day Resources for Federal Employees

Civic Renewal Network

Bill of Rights eBook

Online resources for teaching about the Constitution

A Constitution Day Archive Activity Using primary sources from the Lyndon B. Johnson Library's archival holdings, identify the article in the U.S. Constitution that supports the power being displayed. Appropriate for grades 5–12.

The U.S. Constitution at the National Archives
Go inside the vaults to see rarely displayed documents relating to the formation of the Constitution, including George Washington’s printed copy with his annotations, the final printed text, and Pennsylvania’s ratified copy.


"Amending America" Exhibit
Take a virtual tour of our "Amending America" exhibit, which highlights the remarkably American story of how we have amended, or attempted to amend, the Constitution in order to form a nation that more closely mirrors our ideals.


 "Amending America" How Do We Amend?
This animated short, made for the “Amending America” exhibit, describes how an amendment can be proposed and ratified. It also illustrates how our Founders included Article V to make it possible to amend our Constitution.


U.S. Constitution — The "Fifth Page" (Transmittal Page)
The so-called "Fifth Page" of the U.S. Constitution is rarely displayed. Learn about this lesser known page of the Constitution and how National Archives conservators care for it and our other precious documents.


The U.S. Constitution Comes to the National Archives
The United States Constitution is in the Rotunda of the National Archives today, but it took many years for the documents to arrive. Find out where it was stored and how it finally came to to rest in its present home.

Prologue Articles

"Amending America" Prologue Magazine, Winter 2015

"Errors in the Constitution—Typographical and Congressional" Prologue Magazine, Fall 2012

"A New Era Begins for the Charters of Freedom" Prologue Magazine, Fall 2003

"Travels of the Charters of Freedom" Prologue Magazine, Winter 2002


Blogs

Archivist of the United States blog: Naturalization Ceremony

Pieces of History posts about the Constitution and Constitution Day

Pieces of History: A Constitution Day Reminder

The Text Message: Elbridge Gerry and the Constitution, 1787–1788

Constitution of the United States. Drafted in secret by delegates to the Constitutional Convention during the summer of 1787, this four-page document, signed on September 17, 1787, established the government of the United States.

Constitution Q&A. Questions & Answers Pertaining to the Constitution, excerpted from The Story of the Constitution by Sol Bloom

Constitution of the United States: A History. Based on the Introduction to A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the U.S. Constitution by Roger A. Bruns

Download high-resolution images of the Constitution. Articles 1-7 of the U.S. Constitution as well as the subsequent amendments.

Teaching With Documents: U.S. Constitution Workshop. A self-service online version of our popular on-site U. S. Constitution Workshop

Excerpt, Public Law 108-447  Section 111 of Title I, Division J, of the Fiscal Year 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act, enacted into law on December 8, 2004, instructs each Federal agency to provide educational materials concerning the United States Constitution to each employee on September 17 of each year.

National Constitution Center – Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline. An online experience highlighting some of the key dates and events that mark more than 200 years of our constitutional history.

National Constitution Center: Interactive U.S. Constitution. Search the text of the Constitution by keyword, explore the Constitution by topic, or search the text of the Constitution by Supreme Court decisions.

Creative Ideas for Local Observances. Examples of activities, meetings, and programs for the observance of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.

 

All September 

10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Monday–Saturday

Featured Family Activity: U.S. Constitution
Boeing Learning Center

The U.S. Constitution is the foundation of our government and lays out its role and responsibilities. Come learn more about this incredible document that was signed 230 years ago this month.

Thursday, September 14

Eleventh Annual State of the Constitution Panel: “The New American Constitution”
William G. McGowan Theater

The United States Constitution has been described as “the hinge point” in world history—the moment when the dominant form of government began to change from monarchy to democracy. A panel of experts will explore the historical and modern importance of the Constitution to American society, with an emphasis on America’s changing demographic landscape. Moderated by C. Douglas Smith, vice president of James Madison’s Montpelier, speakers include Maria Hinojosa, journalist and founder of FuturoMedia Group; Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg View columnist and senior editor of the National Review; and Khazir Khan, Goldstar Families.

Presented in partnership with the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier.

Saturday, September 16

10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Constitution Family Day
Boeing Learning Center

On September 17, 1787, after delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia debated, compromised, and came up with a new framework of government for our country, they signed the document that today lives in the Rotunda and is visited by millions of people from all around the world. Celebrate 230 years of the Constitution with hands-on activities.
 
This program is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the support of John Hancock.

Tuesday, September 19 

Film: The Words That Built America
William G. McGowan Theater​

The Words That Built America (2017; 50 minutes) is an unabridged reading of the authentic words of our founding fathers. Introducing the film will be Director-Producer Alexandra Pelosi, who brought together more than 100 readers, including all the living Presidents and Vice Presidents, as well as Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet secretaries, and the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives, and others to read these iconic documents.

Thursday, September 21

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Reserve a seat

Educators Open House
William G. McGowan Theater​

Come for a special after-hours viewing of the exhibits at the National Archives for educators. Learn about resources and workshops for National History Day, options for videoconferencing programs into your classroom, DocsTeach online resources and lesson plans, Learning Labs, field trip planning, and much more! Anne Harrington from WETA will discuss educational material accompanying Ken Burn’s and Lynn Novick’s new documentary, The Vietnam War, at 7 p.m. Register throught the link at left. Send questions to education@nara.gov.

KANSAS CITY AREA EVENTS

Wednesday, September 13

7 p.m

Evening Lecture for Constitution Day

Dr. Allan W. Austin, professor of history at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania, will discuss Ambassadors of Goodwill: Japanese-American Student Resettlement during World War II. Dr. Austin’s lecture will focus on Japanese American college students who faced a series of crises after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The lecture will explore the ways in which the students responded, thinking about the short- and long-term implications for both the students and the wider American society. The program will be held on the campus of Park University, 8700 NW River Park Drive, Parkville, MO in the Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel.

Presented in partnership with Park University

Jefferson and Declaration Founders Online allows you to read the Founders' own words about creating the Constitution.
Amending America Ebook cover designDownload the ebook and Learn about the "Amending America" exhibit
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