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Constitution Day in Newspapers

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Today is Constitution Day and on this date, we celebrate the signing of the Constitution by the members of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 17, 1787. Here’s an early original version of the proposed Constitution we found in the September 19, 1787 edition of the Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser newspaper (Philadelphia, PA). This version was later forwarded to the States for eventual ratification. At the time, newspapers were looked upon as an important source of official government documents and notices.

 The Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia, PA), September 19, 1787
“TWO PHOENICIANS CELEBRATE CITIZENSHIP DAY,” Arizona Tribune (Phoenix, AZ), September 22, 1961

Many civic organizations and patriotic associations throughout the country celebrated Constitution Day and in 1940 Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing and requesting the President to issue annually a proclamation setting aside the third Sunday in May for “I Am An American Day” celebrations.

“‘American Day’ Proclaimed,” Evening Star (Washington, DC), May 3, 1940

In 1952 Congress repealed this joint resolution and passed a new law moving the date to September 17 to commemorate “the formation and signing, on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution of the United States.” The day was still designated as “Citizenship Day” and retained its original purpose of recognizing all those who had attained American citizenship. ” Congress officially changed the designation of this day to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” in 2004.

“CONSTITUTION DAY OBSERVANCE AT ENCANTO SUNDAY,” Arizona Sun (Phoenix, AZ), September 16, 1955

If you happen to be reading this today (September 17, 2019), join the #ConstitutionDay#ChronAmParty on Twitter #ConstitutionDay #ChronAmParty on Twitter all day to find out all the fun newspaper articles we and other Chronicling America users have discovered. Feel free to celebrate with us and tweet your own discoveries! Just add #ChronAmParty and #ConstitutionDay to your tweet to join the party!

Looking for more information on Constitution Day? Check out the new LibGuide, “Federalist Essays in Historic Newspapers,” or the Law Library’s commemorative page on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, which includes information on the creation of the day, legislative branch documents, and executive branch documents.  The Congressional Research Service just released a new version of The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, better known as the Constitution Annotated.  The Law Library has a page on the Fourteenth Amendment and Citizenship created for Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, a guide to the Constitution in its Guide to Law Online, and a LibGuide resource guide



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