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Constitution & Citizenship Day: September 17th

Your guide to the United States Constitution, resources to help you understand it, and fun facts about your country!

September 17th

Constitution Day & Citizenship Day~September 17th

"Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is observed each year on September 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”

This commemoration had its origin in 1940, when Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing and requesting the President to issue annually a proclamation setting aside the third Sunday in May for the public recognition of all who had attained the status of American citizenship.  The designation for this day was “I Am an American Day.”

In 1952 Congress repealed this joint resolution and passed a new law moving the date to September 17 to commemorate “the formation and signing, on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution of the United States.” The day was still designated as “Citizenship Day” and retained its original purpose of recognizing all those who had attained American citizenship. This law urged civil and educational authorities of states, counties, cities and towns to make plans for the proper observance of the day and “for the complete instruction of citizens in their responsibilities and opportunities as citizens of the United States and of the State and locality in which they reside.”

In 2004 under Senator Byrd's urging, Congress changed the designation of this day to "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day" and added two new requirements in the commemoration of this Day. The first is that the head of every federal agency provide each employee with educational and training materials concerning the Constitution on September 17th. The second is that each educational institution which receives Federal funds should hold a program for students every September 17th."  Text from  Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, Law Library of Congress.

School House Rock-Preamble

The U.S. Constitution

Beginnings~July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence

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On January 9, Thomas Paine anonymously publishes Common Sense, a tract that attacks King George III and persuasively argues in support of colonial independence from Britain. The pamphlet sells 150,000 copies in its first three months.

On May 10, the Continental Congress instructs each of the 13 colonies to begin the process of forming new provincial governments.

Richard Henry Lee, a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, submits a formal resolution on June 7 calling for colonial independence from Britain. A committee is composed to draft a declaration of independence based on the Lee Resolution.

Congress votes to adopt the Lee Resolution on July 2, formally breaking all political ties with the British Empire.

The Declaration of Independence is officially adopted by Congress on July 4.

Federal Depository Library Program

     Jefferson College Library is a congressionally designated selective depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law. (Title 44 United States Code). In 2014 we celebrated our 30th anniversary as a depository library and our unique combination of serving the local community and our College garnered attention from the Government Publishing Office in its 2015 profile of our services.

     The Federal Depository Library Program was established by Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its Government’s information. GPO administers the FDLP on behalf of the participating libraries and the public. Information products from the Federal Government are disseminated to these nationwide libraries that, in turn, ensure the American public has free access to the materials, both in print and online. The official version of govinfo.gov launched in December 2018 and was developed to provide free access to government information from all three branches of the Federal Government.

Transcription of Constitution

"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."