The U.S. Constitution is turning 220 years old, having been ratified at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, 1787.
Some believe this historic document has been a bit bruised and battered in the post-9/11 era. This is the subject of a bipartisan discussion in the Library?s James Madison Building at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17. It?s fitting that this event is being held in the only memorial to James Madison in the nation?s capital. Madison?s contribution to the Constitution is outlined on our Web site for children.
The Sept. 17 event marks Constitution Day, a federal holiday that does not confer a day off from work, but does recognize the auspicious occasion brought forth by the Founding Fathers. The Monday discussion is part of the Law Library of Congress?s lecture series on ?National Security and the Rule of Law,? which commemorates the Law Library?s 175th anniversary in 2007.
At this event, the Constitution Project will present Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie Savage with the first-ever Constitution Project Award for Constitutional Commentary for his latest work, titled ?Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy.? The award recognizes the author of ?an outstanding written work that has improved the quality of public discourse through insightful, articulate analysis of a constitutional question.? Other panelists include former Rep. Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma and former State Department official Morton H. Halperin.
The Library?s Web site is rife with resources on the framing of the Constitution. A good place to start is the Law Library?s Web presentation titled ?A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates.? The THOMAS legislative tracking system also has links to a number of Library sites about the Constitution, including lesson plans for teachers.
(Thanks to Audrey Fischer for assistance in researching and writing this post. Image from LOC?s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.)