When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or on another holiday, schools and other institutions unofficially observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday. Thus Constitution Day 2016 is generally observed on Friday, September 16.
The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before this 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. This holiday is not observed by granting time off work for federal employees.
Citizens of the United States have celebrated Independence Day and Presidents’ Day since the 1870s, and in 2005, the nation began to celebrate Constitution Day. Also know as Citizenship Day, Constitution Day is an American holiday honoring the day 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the United States Constitution. This historic date was September 17, 1787.
Fascinating Facts about the U.S. Constitution
The U.S. Constitution has 4,400 words. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world.”
Of the spelling errors in the Constitution, Pensylvania above the signers names is probably the most glaring.
Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention, where he served as the U.S. minister. John Adams was serving as the U.S. minister to Great Britain during the Constitutional Convention and did not attend either.
The Constitution was penned by Jacob Shallus, A Pennsylvania General Assembly clerk, for $30 ($802 today).
Since 1952, the Constitution has been on display in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Currently, all four pages are displayed behind protective glass framed with titanium. To preserve the parchment’s quality, the cases contain argon gas and are kept at 67 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 40 percent.
Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17, the anniversary of the day the framers signed the document.
The Constitution does not set forth requirements for the right to vote. As a result, at the outset of the Union, only male property-owners could vote. African Americans were not considered citizens, and women were excluded from the electoral process. Native Americans were not given the right to vote until 1924.
James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” was one of the first to arrive in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. He arrived in early May, bearing the blueprint for the new Constitution.
Of the forty-two delegates who attended most of the meetings, thirty-nine actually signed the Constitution. Edmund Randolph and George Mason of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts refused to sign due in part due to the lack of a bill of rights.
When it came time for the states to ratify the Constitution, the lack of any bill of rights was the primary sticking point.
The Great Compromise saved the Constitutional Convention, and, probably, the Union. Authored by Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman, it called for proportional representation in the House, and one representative per state in the Senate (this was later changed to two.) The compromise passed 5-to-4, with one state, Massachusetts, divided.
Patrick Henry was elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but declined, because he smelt a rat.
Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face.
Gouverneur Morris was largely responsible for the wording of the Constitution, although there was a Committee of Style formed in September 1787.
The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81).
The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).
When the Constitution was signed, the United States population was 4 million. It is now more than 322 million. Philadelphia was the nation’s largest city, with 40,000 inhabitants.
A proclamation by President George Washington and a congressional resolution established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789. The reason for the holiday was to give thanks for the new Constitution.
The first time the formal term “The United States of America” was used was in the Declaration of Independence.
It took one hundred days to actually “frame” the Constitution.
There was initially a question as to how to address the President. The Senate proposed that he be addressed as His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate compromised on the use of “President of the United States.”
James Wilson originally proposed the President be chosen by popular vote, but the delegates agreed (after 60 ballots) on a system known as the Electoral College. Although there have been 500 proposed amendments to change it, this indirect system of electing the president is still intact.
George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution.
In November of 1788 the Congress of the Confederation adjourned and left the United States without a central government until April 1789. That is when the first Congress under the new Constitution convened with its first quorum.
James Madison was the only delegate to attend every meeting. He took detailed notes of the various discussions and debates that took place during the convention. The journal that he kept during the Constitutional Convention was kept secret until after he died. It (along with other papers) was purchased by the government in 1837 at a price of $30,000 (that would be $666,000 today). The journal was published in 1840.
You can find more “fascinating facts about the Constitution” here
There is little more I can add to this post except my love for the Constitution and my eternal gratitude that some of the wisest men to ever assemble in one place constructed and ratified this miraculous document. For over 200 years it has made us the freest nation on earth.
If the politicians and other rapscallions that infest our country have their way it will not last except as a historical document meaning nothing. Every one of those elected swears to uphold this document and few keep their word.
We can only pray that enough people in this country care about freedom to preserve it. Otherwise we may be the last generation to know what freedom in the USA means.