Celebrate Constitution Day, September 17

printable version

The Constitution of the United States was signed on September 17, 1787, at the final meeting of the Constitutional Congress.

President George W. Bush signed Public Law 108-447 on December 8, 2004 designating September 17 as Constitution Day (see Division J, sec. 111 at pp. 536-537 of the Law). The Department of Education issued a notice at 70 Fed. Reg. 29727 stating that when September 17 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, it shall be celebrated during the previous or following week.

Pappas Law Library celebrates Constitution Day, September 17-24, 2010

Library Activities

  • Just for fun, try this pop quiz!
  • Come see our bulletin board exhibit at Pappas and find other resources to learn more about the Constitution.
  • Reading of the Preamble
    • This YouTube video features Senator Robert C. Bird reading the preamble of the Constitution.
  • Watch this childhood classic, a Schoolhouse Rock video about the Preamble.
  • See videos on the Constitution and constitutional concepts available in the library courtesy of the Annenberg Foundation Trust.
    • In Our Constitution: A Conversation current and former Supreme Court Justices answer questions on why we need a written Constitution, the separation of powers, federalism, individual rights, and more.
      Law Media Cabinet KF4541 .O97 2005
    • Key Constitutional Concepts presents the constitution and examines separation of powers and individual rights in the context of Youngstown v. Sawyer and Gideon v. Wainwright.
      Law Media Cabinet Ref KF4541 .K49 2006
    • Mandate: The President and the People, narrated by veteran CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl, examines the long and complex relationship between the presidency and public opinion.
      Law Media Cabinet KF5053 .M36 2005

This page collects resources for learning more about the making and signing of the Constitution as well as the celebration of Constitution Day.

The Precursor to the U.S. Constitution

  • Articles of Confederation: Provided by the Library of Congress, this site contains information about the precursor to the U.S. Constitution and high quality images from the Library of Congress collections.

The U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Subsequent Amendments

  • Interactive Constitution: This fully interactive exhibit by the National Constitution Center allows you to search the full text and explanations of the Constitution, browse by more than 300 topics, or browse by selected Supreme Court decisions. For each searched or browsed item, the interactive site provides the applicable text as well as analysis.
  • The Bill of Rights, as the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are known, provide for basic liberties and civil rights that were not secured by the original Constitution. Provided by the National Archives, this site contains high resolution images and full text of the Bill of Rights.
  • Amendments to the Constitution: Although many amendments are proposed in each session of Congress, only 27 amendments have been ratified. This site by the National Archives provides high resolution images and full text of the Bill of Rights.

The Making of the Constitution

  • Constitution of the United States: A History: One of many resources from the National Archives, this page provides an overview of the events preceding the Constitutional Convention, the convention itself, and the ratification process.
  • The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787: Also provided by the Library of Congress, this work consists of the notes of the Constitutional Convention taken and revised by James Madison. Collected and annotated by Max Farrand, these records are the "single best source for discussions of the Constitutional Convention. "
  • The Federalist: This collection of 85 essays by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison was originally published in various New York newspapers from 1787 to 1788. The Federalist Papers, as the essays are often called, were written to encourage the citizens of New York to ratify the Constitution. Frequently cited by the United States Supreme Court, The Federalist is a source to determine the intent of the drafters of the Constitution.

    The Making of Modern Law, contains various editions of The Federalist Papers in PDF format.

    To find the papers, use Browse Titles, entering Federalist Papers.

  • The American Constitution: A Documentary Record: This resource, provided by Yale Law School's Avalon Project, provides text versions of documents related to the development of the Constitution. These documents include documents that helped shape the Constitution, constitutions and other documents from the colonies, and precursors to the Constitution, such as the Articles of Confederation. Other helpful information includes documents appointing the states' delegates to the Constitutional Convention, documents from the convention and the notes of various participants. Finally, this site provides documents presenting the Constitution to the states and the Congress, the ratification documents from the states, and the Federalist Papers.

Resources on Constitutional History

  • Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline: This online timeline provides a history of events related to the Constitution. Two versions are provided: an HTML version for slower Internet connections or a broadband version containing audio and video clips, and other interactive content. Both versions contain images and may be browsed or searched by keyword.

Additional Library Resources

In addition to the books included in our exhibit, these sources will enhance your research into the Constitution and constitutional law.

  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution
    Law Reference KF 4548 .E53 2000
  • Making of Modern Law: This collection provides digital images of every page of 22,000 legal treatises on US and British law published from 1800 through 1926. Provides full-text searching as well as browsing by author or title of a work.

For Further Research


Page maintained by Raquel Ortiz
Last updated: September 2010