On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution, establishing the United States under a federal system of government.
The U.S. Constitution was the first written constitution in the world and is the oldest one still in existence.
Congress has established September 17 as Constitution Day to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. In honor of the event, the Empire State College Library has gathered some web resources and articles about the Constitution’s history.
Writing the Constitution
- The Founding Fathers: Delegates to the Constitutional Convention (National Archives and Records Administration)
Biographical overview of the 55 delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention.
- Founding Friendship: Washington, Madison and the Creation of the American Republic
Article by Start Leibiger from History Today (July 2001, Vol. 51, Iss. 7) which examines one of the most significant relationships behind the politics that produced the American Constitution.
- Centuries of Citizenship: Interactive Constitution Timeline (National Constitution Center)
An online experience highlighting some of the key dates and events that mark more than 200 years of our constitutional history.
Interpreting the Constitution
- United States Constitution: Texts, Commentaries, Historical Texts and Judicial Decisions (Law Library of Congress)
Texts, commentaries, historical texts and judicial decisions relating to the U.S. Constitution.
- Documents from the Constitutional Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789 (Library of Congress)
This digital collection contains 274 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Items include extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports, treaties, and early printed versions of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
- Amending America
Article by Bernard Weisberger from American Heritage (May/Jun95, Vol. 46, Iss. 3) that provides an overview of the amendments to the Constitution and the political climate in which they were adopted.
Reading the Constitution
- Constitution of the United States (National Archives)
High-resolution images of the U.S. Constitution, with explanatory notes and transcripts of the Constitution text.
- Interactive Constitution (National Constitution Center)
A clause-by-clause explanation of the Constitution, providing access to basic constitutional facts and interpretation, and searchable by key words and Supreme Court cases.
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