On Sept. 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by 39 brave men who changed the course of history. Now, the National Constitution Center in Center City Philadelphia hosts Constitution Day – a day to continue the legacy and develop habits of citizenship in a new generation of Americans.
Philadelphia University students interested in reading the pocket Constitution can download copies at http://pocketconstitution.emthree.org/. Visit the Law and Society Program table in the Kanbar Campus Center this Friday, Sept. 18 to pick up a pocket edition.
In partnership with Philadelphia University’s National Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month celebration, Professor Joel Grossman, a renowned constitutional law scholar from Johns Hopkins University, will hold a lecture on campus entitled, “Justice Sotomayor and the Roberts Court,” on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 5:30 p.m. in The Tuttleman Auditorium. The lecture is hosted by the Law and Society Program in the School of Liberal Arts and the Office of Student Development, the lecture is open to the campus community and the public.
A series of events will be held at the National Constitution Center for National Constitution Day. As part of the “College Day on the Parkway” event, students will be able to attend Philadelphia museums free of charge, including the National Constitution Center. The College Day is Saturday, Sept. 26. Students interested attending should contact the Office of Student Development Programs at ext. 2634 to receive free tokens.
“The Constitution is the basis for the freedoms and liberties that Americans have,” said Robert Koulish, associate professor and director of the Law and Society Program in the School of Liberal Arts. “Constitution Day provides an opportunity for us to reflect the rights we are granted and to celebrate the freedoms our country was founded upon. Protecting the Constitution is a daily struggle that starts with education,” he added.
Did you know? Ten Fast Facts on the Constitution
Provided by the National Constitution Center
- The U. S Constitution was written in the same Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington received his commission as Commander of the Continental Army. Now called Independence Hall, the building still stands today on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, directly across from the National Constitution Center.
- Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed on September 17th. But it wasn’t until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states.
- The U.S. Constitution was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries.
- Some of the original framers and many delegates in the state ratifying conventions were very troubled that the original Constitution lacked a description of individual rights. In 1791, Americans added a list of rights to the Constitution. The first ten amendments became known as The Bill of Rights
- Of the 55 delegates attending the Constitutional Convention, 39 signed and 3 delegates dissented. Two of America’s “founding fathers” didn’t sign the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was representing his country in France and John Adams was doing the same in Great Britain.
- Established on November 26, 1789, the first national “Thanksgiving Day” was originally created by George Washington as a way of “giving thanks” for the Constitution.
- Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.
- At age 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention and at age 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest.
- The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping.
- More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty three have gone to the states to be ratified and twenty seven have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become amendments to the Constitution.