We celebrate Constitution Day on September 17th of each year. This day commemorates the September 17, 1787, signing of the United States Constitution. Constitution Day became a national observance in 2004.
Facts about the U.S. Constitution
- 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.
- The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81) and the youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).
- George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution.
- Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution because he was in France during the Convention serving 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 nickname for the U.S. Constitution is “Bundle of Compromises.”
- The U.S. Constitution is currently considered the shortest governing document of any nation.
The Constitutional Convention
The Constitutional Convention was the hundred day debate that was one of the most momentous occurrences in United States Constitutional History. The events that would take place in the Pennsylvania State House during that time would set the United States on the course towards becoming a true Constitutional Republic.
As history played out, the consequence of the Constitutional Convention was the United States Constitution. However, it wasn’t an easy path. The drafting process was exhausting. They wanted the supreme law of the United States to be flawless.
Constitution Day Resources
Here is a list of helpful resources on Constitution Day:
- The National Archives website
- The Library of Congress American Memory site provides numerous resources on the Constitution
- The National Endowment for the Humanities provides content on the Constitution through the EDSITEMENT website
- The U.S. Senate has posted Constitution Day material from the Legislative Branch
Constitution Day Event
Why: Celebrate Constitution Day 2020 with Claremont Discourse
What: Each year, to recognize Constitution Day, Claremont Discourse, the Library’s faculty speaker series, assembles Claremont Colleges’ scholars to speak on issues surrounding the U.S. Constitution. This year, we’ve gone virtual with two video lectures by Claremont McKenna political scientists Zachary Courser and Jack Pitney.
Who: Elections and the Constitution by Dr. Zachary Courser
In this talk, Dr. Courser discusses Congress’s constitutional powers to regulate federal elections to ensure their legitimacy, with an eye toward regulation of disputed or disrupted elections.
The First Amendment and Religion in America by Dr. Jack Pitney
The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause is a limitation on government, not individual motivation. Accordingly, religion has driven much of American political history. But there is a caveat: as Tocqueville warned, any alliance between religion and a political party is bound to hurt religion.
When: September 17th
Where: The Claremont Colleges Library’s website