Commemorating Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
Why Constitution Day?
Constitution Day commemorates the day that the Constitution of the United States was signed on September 17, 1787.
In 2004, an amendment to Title 36 Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies & Organizations, Section 106, changed the observance of Citizenship Day to Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Part of the amendment requires that schools and educational institutions mark the day with education programs/activities remembering the privileges of citizenship in the United States of America (National Archives, 2020).
Reasons to Consider U.S. Citizenship
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (2020) lists the following rights, responsibilities, and benefits of U.S. citizenship.
- Freedom to express yourself.
- Freedom to worship as you wish.
- Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.
- Right to vote in elections for public officials.
- Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.
- Right to run for elected office.
- Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
- Support and defend the Constitution.
- Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
- Participate in the democratic process.
- Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
- Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
- Participate in your local community.
- Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
- Serve on a jury when called upon.
- Defend the country if the need should arise.
- Serve on a jury
- Travel with US passport
- Bring family members to the US
- Apply for federal jobs
- Become an elected official
- Keep your US residency
- Become eligible for federal grants and scholarships
- Obtain government benefits
Constitution Day Resources
National Constitution Center
This is the official website for the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA.
The Constitution Center provides information and resources on Constitution Day.
This website allows scholars to explore the Constitution and its significance to present-day problems.
- Constitutional Role of Judges: An Exchange Between Justice Breyer and Justice Scalia C-SPAN hosted a discussion on the Constitution role of judges.
- Scholar Exchange Video: Constitution Day With Justice Gorsuch
On Constitution Day 2020, U.S. Supreme Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch joined the National Constitution Center for a special Student Town Hall. He spoke about the importance of Constitution Day, as well as his career, the role of the judicial branch, and what it’s like to sit on the Supreme Court. National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen moderated the discussion.
- Scholar Exchange Video: Constitution 101 With Jill Lepore
Jill Lepore, David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and writer for The New Yorker, joins National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen for a discussion on the issues and events in early America that led to the Constitutional Convention. We also explore the major debates at the Convention, and how those discussions shaped the future of the United States. Lepore also discusses her career as a writer and historian, as well as answers questions from participants.
- Video Lesson: Tour of Signers’ Hall and an Introduction to the Constitutional Convention
Celebrate the writing of the Constitution by going inside the Constitutional Convention at the National Constitution Center’s Signers’ Hall! Viewers will learn the ideas behind our nation’s founding document as we see life-size statues of the Founding Fathers, and get to know some of the most famous figures.
- YouTube: Why Do We Have A Constitution?
- Podcast: Founding Stories of America’s Founding Documents
As we look forward to Constitution Day, this episode shares founding stories of America’s founding documents from three key periods: the Declaration of Independence and the Revolution, the nation’s founding era, and post-Civil War Reconstruction—sometimes referred to as the “second founding.”
- Podcast: The Words That Made Us
Preeminent legal scholar Akhil Reed Amar of Yale Law School, host of the America’s Constitution podcast, joins National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen to discuss the big constitutional questions confronted by early Americans, as described in Amar's groundbreaking new book, The Words That Made Us: America's Constitutional Conversation, 1760-1840.
- Podcast: The Founders’ Library
- Podcast: Benjamin Franklin and the Constitution
- Podcast: George Washington’s Constitutional Legacy
- Educational Resource: 10 Facts about the Constitution
- Essay: The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Revolution in Government by Richard R. Beeman
- Essay: The Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights by Jeffrey Rosen and David Rubenstein
- Blog Post: On this day, the Constitution was signed in Philadelphia
- Blog Post: 10 reasons why America’s first constitution failed
- Educational Resource: Biographies of the Signers
- The Library of Congress American Memory site provides numerous resources on the Constitution. These two links provide access:
- Website - National Archives: America's Founding Documents
The National Archives offers access to the Charters of Freedom, which consists of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
- The National Endowment for the Humanities provides content on the Constitution through the EDSITEMENT web site.
- The National Archives web site provides Constitution Day activities and materials.
- The Census Bureau's Statistics in Schools (SIS) program offers many activities to highlight the day.
- We also encourage you to access information about the Constitution on the National History Education Clearinghouse (NHEC) site at www.teachinghistory.org. The NHEC is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under contract no. ED-07-CO-0088. The NHEC homepage features special, highlighted information on teaching resources for Constitution Day.
Library of Congress
This website is the official source of information on United States congressional activities and legislation.
This is the official page of the Library of Congress, which is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.
National Archives. (2020, September 17). Celebrating Constitution Day.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (2020, July 5). Should I Consider U.S Citizenship.