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On September 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history: the United States Constitution. This document established the framework of our government and the rights and freedoms that “We the People” enjoy today.

What is Constitution Day?

Senator Robert ByrdConstitution Day became a national observance in 2004, when Senator Robert Byrd passed a bill designating September 17 as the day for citizens to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution and learn more about our founding document. Senator Byrd once said, "Our ideals of freedom, set forth and realized in our Constitution, are our greatest export to the world." He added the Constitution Day clause to his 2004 federal spending bill because he believed that all citizens should know about their rights as outlined in the Constitution. This clause mandates the teaching of the Constitution in schools that receive federal funds, as well as federal agencies.

In honor of Constitution Day, all educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the U.S. Constitution. The National Constitution Center can help you meet this requirement! Here’s how:

Distribution of Constitution Hall Pass and a full list of the nation’s best constitutional teaching resources has been made possible by the following civic organizations: American Bar Association, American Institute for History Education, Annenberg Classroom, Bill of Rights Institute, Center for Civic Education, Channel One, Civic Mission of Schools, Constituting America, Daughters of the American Revolution, Gilder Lehrman, iCivics, National Archives, National History Day Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Progressive Business Publications, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and Scholastic.

Constitution Day

Many notable guests have participated in the Constitution Center’s Constitution Day celebration since the museum opened in 2003 including: former Second Lady Lynne Cheney, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, activists Elizabeth Eckford and Mary Beth Tinker, and Congressman John Lewis.

Shop for Materials

Pocket Constitution
Pocket Constitution
The Pocket United States Constitutions are 9-by-22 inches and fold into an approximately 3-by-3 inch square. Receive one FREE Classroom-Ready Resource when purchasing 150 or more Pocket Constitutions.
Constitution Day Kit
Constitution Day Kit
Everything you need for a Constitution Day lesson and activities. Comes with lesson plan, DVD, pocket constitutions and more!