Constitution Day & Citizenship Day
September 17 is recognized in the United States as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. The purpose of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is to commemorate the creation and signing of the supreme law of the land and to honor and celebrate the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship for both native-born and naturalized citizens.
~Patrick Henry, 1788 (Orations of American Orators)
Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution. The signing of the Constitution is remarkable in a number of respects and is worthy of a day of celebration and reflection.
The Constitution marks the beginning of an American identity. Prior to the creation of the Constitution, the original states were held together very loosely by the Articles of Confederation. Identity with your individual state, such as New York or Pennsylvania, would often be more important than any national identity. The Constitution created that national identity that we still hold today.
The Constitution also represents that summation of thousands of years of western thought, wherein the founding fathers took many of the best aspects of western thought and built them into the Constitution. Among those ideas were the ideas of separation of powers, that there would clearly be no monarch and instead the creation of an elected Executive, and perhaps most importantly the enshrinement of the idea that “We the People” should rule through a democratic process.
The Founding Fathers also recognized the failings of the Articles of Confederation, and created a system ultimately referred to as federalism - the separation of powers between the federal government and states, to better represent the interests of the people.
Citizenship Day neatly parallels Constitution Day and there are simple and direct reasons why both events are celebrated simultaneously. For instance, two rights of citizenship, voting and the right to serve on a jury, directly connect to the idea that the people should rule.
GCU celebrates this outstanding achievement of not just American history but the history of human civilization – an accomplishment that still influences our lives today. To celebrate, GCU conducts campus wide activities concerning the Constitution in the classroom and without.
Please celebrate with us and feel free to enjoy the following links concerning the Constitution: