September 17, 1787
U.S. Constitution Signed
Today honors America’s founding document – the world’s longest surviving written government charter.
“It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be preserved;”
George Washington submitting the final draft of the Constitution to the Continental Congress, Sept. 17, 1787. He highlighted the challenge of bringing states together with different “habits, and particular interests” but credited “concessions”, “mutual deference” and the spirit of friendship for the final product.
- Who: 55 delegates attended the Convention, but only 39 signed.
- When: Written during four-month Convention (May 25 – Sept 17, 1787).
- Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Why: Created “a new form of government” ~ divided power between the states with a federal government with executive, judicial, & legislative branches.
WHAT IS CELEBRATED
- 1940: Congress designated “I Am An American Day” as the 3rd Sunday in May to honor new citizens.
- 1952: Congress moved date to Sept. 17th, naming it “Citizenship Day.”
- 2004: Congress designated Sept. 17th *BOTH* “Constitution Day & Citizenship Day” to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution and “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”
DID YOU KNOW?
- The first ten amendments are known as the the Bill of Rights.
- The Constitution has been amended 27 times, most recently in 1992, adding one of the original amendments that didn’t make the cut in 1791, regarding federal lawmaker pay.
- Only one amendment was repealed. In 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, and put an end to Prohibition.
THE NEXT AMENDMENT? In 2019 Congress held the first hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment in 36 years. The amendment, passed by Congress in 1972 would have made gender equality a fundamental right, but ultimately, it was not added to the Constitution. See our source page for more.
Why no equal rights amendment to the constitution? READ MORE
Here’s one of the most famous paintings in the U.S. Capitol that portrays September 17th, 1787 and the major players, including George Washington
by Jenna Lee,