Happy Constitution Day!

Reproduction of a painting of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others signing the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia, Penn., by Hy. Hintermeister. 1925. Prints and Photographs Division.

“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.”

Today we celebrate the 226th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution in Philadelphia, Penn. The Constitutional Convention convened in response to dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation and the need for a strong centralized government. Although the vote was close in some states, the Constitution was eventually ratified and the new Federal government came into existence in 1789.

And, to mark the historical occasion, the Library of Congress is releasing a web publication and free “app” for smart devices that places a clause-by-clause explanation of the important document in the hands of millions of people.

The new resources, which include analysis of Supreme Court cases through June 26, 2013, will be updated multiple times each year as new court decisions are issued.  Legal professionals, teachers, students and anyone researching the constitutional implications of a particular topic can easily locate constitutional amendments, federal and state laws that were held unconstitutional, and tables of recent cases with corresponding topics and constitutional implications.

Release of the web publication and app also coincide with the 100th anniversary edition of a printed document, “The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation,” which was published at the direction of the U.S. Senate for the first time in 1913. Popularly known as the Constitution Annotated, the volume has been published as a bound edition every 10 years, with updates addressing new constitutional law cases issued every two years. The analysis is provided by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress. These new resources will now make the nearly 3,000-page Constitution Annotated more accessible to more people and enable updates of new case analysis throughout each year.

While the Constitution serves as a model of compromise and collaborative statesmanship, the road to it was a slow and difficult process – most of which took place during a long revolutionary war. The Library’s online exhibition, “Creating the United States,” takes a look at the path in creating one of our nation’s most fundamental documents. Included is an interactive that let’s viewers connect with particular phrases and ideas, along with edits made when drafting the document.

5 Comments

  1. Patty
    September 17, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Now, if they could make the App for devices other than Apple. . .

  2. Oscar Salvador Dávila Sierra
    September 17, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Feliz CCXVI Aniversario de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos.

  3. Ellen Sand
    September 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Yawn. The whole United States thing? It’s been over for a while, in case you haven’t noticed. The value of this commemoration is that it highlights the need for a new convention. Maybe we’ll become a democratic country that way.

  4. Heidi Morgan
    September 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Thank-you Library Of Congress!!!!! Thank-you for keeping me up to speed on our country’s IMPORTANT milestones! I LOVE YOU!

  5. Walter Barth
    September 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Since the time of advanced thought on civilization, justice and despot consequences as expressed in classical Greece (eg Plato), the U.S. of A. Constitution (1789) in its 226th Anniversary is at the forefront of global civilization in the making.

    The brutal price on humanity, children, old folk and able women and men has been high in the 20th century, given the evidence of WWI and WWII, and intervening years. Many nationalist and corporate leaders failed in their deeds, with wilful or negligent abuse of civilians and standards of civility, using coercion, depravity or genocide whilst claiming an opposition to treason and heresy.

    The U.S.of A. in its defence of its Constitution has influenced global leaders who support the implementation of global civility in deeds as well as idealist diatribe. The nationalist leaders who hide behind their sovereign status whilst brutalizing their citizens for individual interest are provoked into wilful defiance of the ethical standards articulated in the 1789 U.S. of A. Constitution.

    The European holocaust of WWII, under Hitler, Himmler and their collaborators is one such defiance against human rights as the warped “Final Solution” was either tolerated to appease or, upheld from within nationalist and corporate leadership.

    Another cowardice against humanity is associated with the Soviet style “gulag” history, detailed on Google search links, or, the Ukrainian 1932-33 mass execution of its citizens through starvation under Bolshevik/Soviet enterprises for “collective” enforcement, labelled by victim valour as “The Holodomor”. The links below show an example of an informed acknowledgement, within democracy at Congress, of that nationalist depravity, irrespective of the ideological Soviet mirage.

    http://beta.congress.gov/crec/2001/11/06/CREC-2001-11-06-pt1-PgH7784-2.pdf

    http://beta.congress.gov/crec/2004/11/20/CREC-2004-11-20-pt1-PgE2098-3.pdf

    The global challenges in the 21st Century for the 1789, U.S. of A. Constitution, are under way, aren’t they ?

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