Thursday, September 17, 2009

Constitution Day

September 17, 1787 marked the culmination of an entire summer in which 41 men endured a sweltering summer behind closed doors debating and deliberating upon the future of the United States. 39 of those men went on to sign their names to the Constitution, endorsing not only the parchment but its principles, born from a war to gain independence and years of turmoil following obtaining it.

222 years later, two blocks from Independence Hall, the site where the signers convened that summer, the National Constitution Center celebrates their accomplishment with a day of activities. One can watch a demonstration on printing and calligraphy for the preamble, sign a giant Constitution, watch a moving naturalization ceremony on site, or see the induction ceremony for the newest member of the American National Tree, Harvey Milk, just to name a few.

The center, a museum of not only artifacts, but ideas is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the Constitution and the importance of civic engagement has dedicated a website to Constitution Day as well for those unable to come to the museum for the day of festivities and to assist the educator in observing this mandatory celebration. Have your students take the quiz to find out which founder they are. If they had to take the naturalization test required by all aspiring citizens, would they pass? Constitution Day kits are also available to order on the website which contains a lesson applicable any time of year. The site also contains resources for elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Want to find out more about the men who attended the Constitutional Convention? Click here.

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