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Constitution Day

About Constitution Day

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 forefathers on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens. When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or on another holiday, schools and other institutions observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday.

Constitution Day--along with Independence Day and Presidents' Day--is an important part of the cultural heritage of the United States of America because it recognizes the value of the American experiment and the success of a nation of free people whose rights and liberties are protected by a written Constitution.

The law establishing the present holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as Citizenship Day. In addition to renaming the holiday, the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions, and all federal agencies, provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.

Constitution Day Resources

National Constitution Center
Information includes a countdown to Constitution day, historical information about the Constitution including an interpretation of each section of the Constitution and the "Constitution Hall Pass," an award-winning video series about the Constitution.

U.S. Senate Historical Office
Contains information about the system of checks and balances signed in 1789, including the original text and a detailed explanation of each part of the document.

Colonial Williamsburg
Website contains the full text of the U.S. Constitution, including links to translations in 11 languages.

National Archives
Contains teaching activities for observing Constitution Day.
In addition to the entire text of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, read about interesting insights into the men who wrote the Constitution, how it was created, and how the Supreme Court has interpreted the United States Constitution in the two centuries since its creation. The site also features interactive quizzes about the Constitution and the founding fathers.

Constitution Day at NIU

Constitution Day is Saturday, September 17th, 2016. This year’s Constitution Day observance has multiple events hosted and presented by the College of Law. Dean Eric Dannenmaier hopes that all students, alumni, faculty and staff will consider joining us at Swen Parson Hall.

The planned events are:

  • Thursday, September 15th @ 4:30 pm
    The NIU Law American Constitution Society and Federalist Society are co-hosting a panel on recent Supreme Court cases in the Francis X. Riley Courtroom.
  • Friday, September 16th @ Noon
    The Dean’s Office will stage a dramatic reading of the Bill of Rights on Bill of Rights Plaza (in front of Swen Parson Hall).
  • Friday, September 16th
    Pocket copies of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States will be distributed on the MLK Commons, the Bill of Rights Plaza, and the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.
  • Saturday, September 17th @ 9:00 am
    The NIU Law Breakfast Club will host a discussion of current Constitutional controversies in the North Wing of the Law Library.