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InfoGuides | Pepperdine Libraries

Constitution Day

Thursday, September 17 2020

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Constitution Day Background

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

-U.S. Constitution

Read Full Text of the United States Constitution Here

Constitution Day

 

About the Constitution

Constitution Day is a federal holiday in the United States that celebrates the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787. That year, Delegates gathered at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to respond to growing dissatisfaction with America's first governing document, the Articles of Confederation. Events like Shays' Rebellion proved the weakness of the Articles of Confederation, which did not provide for a strong centralized government. At issue, states still acted like independent countries, essentially rendering the national government powerless. The Constitution proposed a stronger federal government with three branches -- executive, legislative, and judicial -- and a system of checks and balances to prevent tyranny.

Although signed in 1787, the Constitution was not ratified until two years later. Among the contested issues, the Constitution of 1787 failed to abolish slavery. Abolition would take another 80 years with the passage of the 13th Amendment. Today, the original Constitution is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

 

Theopening of the US Constitution, showing We The People written in large script.

Books on the Constitution at the Library

Want to Dive Deeper?

Read more writings from the Founding Fathers here

Access the Charters of Freedom here