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Celebrate Constitution Day by perusing the nation's legal touchstone

Article 1, the Constitution of the United StatesBy Jesse Silva, Head, UNT Libraries’ Government Documents Department

On Sept. 17, 1787, a group of delegates gathered in Philadelphia to sign a document that created the law of a new nation called the United States of America. The document, the Constitution of the United States is the country’s supreme law.

Constitution Day, Sept. 17, commemorates the formation and signing of the Constitution.  

The first three Articles of the Constitution establish the rules and separate powers of the three branches of the federal government:

  • legislature made up of two houses of Congress
  • executive branch led by the president
  • federal judiciary headed by the Supreme Court

The last four Articles deal with how the states relate to one another and the federal government, how the Constitution shall be amended, national debt and ratification.

After adoption by the Constitutional Convention, the Constitution was ratified by conventions in 11 states. It went into effect on March 4, 1789.

Discover the U.S. Constitution by picking up your free pocket Constitution all day Sept. 17 at Wooten Hall or Willis Library, 3rd floor. This little book contains the full text of the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, brief biographies of the signers of the Constitution, summaries of major Supreme Court cases, and much more. We will also be giving away buttons and pencils. Supplies are limited, so come by early.

Free Constitutions are brought to you by the Government Information Connection within the UNT Libraries, one of the leading Federal Depository Libraries in the country. The Government Information Connection staff is here to help you find and use government information in all its forms.

Congress established Constitution Day in 1956, and in 2004, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, included a provision in an appropriations bill that required public schools and governmental offices to provide educational programs about the Constitution. The day also is known as Citizenship Day.

This year is the 225th anniversary of the Constitution.


Posted on: Tue 11 September 2012

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