Constitution Day – September 17

September 17 is Constitution Day, established in 2004 by 36 U.S.C.  § 106.  As a day of education about and celebration of our constitutional rights and freedoms, it commemorates the date on which thirty-nine of the Philadelphia Convention’s delegates signed the new Constitution.  The Convention was convened in May, 1787 as a result of dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation, the first post-independence form of national government in the United States.  The signing was preceded by months of debate and compromise over representation in the legislative branch (“The Great Compromise”), Presidential selection, property ownership as a qualification for public office, the federal government’s power to pay the national debt, and slavery. After ratification by the states, the Constitution took effect in 1789.

The U.S. Constitution remains the oldest national constitution in continuous existence. The original document is held at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. You can read the Constitution online, or pick up your own pocket-copy at the library’s reference desk!