September 17 celebrated as US Constitution Day: History and Significance

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Sep 17, 2021, 12:43 PM(IST)

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In order to maintain the sovereignty of the individual states, the creators of the Articles of Confederation made the central government too weak to hold things together

In the year 1787, delegates from 12 of the 13 United States gathered in Philadelphia to try to create something they desperately need, a government that actually works.

The entire process began in York, Pennsylvania. 

In 1777 the Continental Congress, meeting in the York County Courthouse after fleeing the British occupation of Philadelphia approves the Articles of Confederation. The article achieves two lasting results - it names the new country “The United States of America,” and it gives York bragging rights as the first capital of the country.

In order to maintain the sovereignty of the individual states, the creators of the Articles of Confederation made the central government too weak to hold things together. 

Also read | September 17 in history: First space shuttle, Tamil's recognition and more

Therefore, in 1787 the delegates at what will become known as the Constitutional Convention start the task of revising the Articles of Confederation. 

From May to September the delegates worked on the same. 

On September 17, the delegates gathered one last time, and voted to present their finished product to the Confederation Congress, and signed the Constitution.

On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to ratify the new Constitution. 

After a period of 230 years and 27 amendments, the basic framework remains unchanged.

Constitution Day dates back to 1940 when Congress and the President passed a resolution creating “I Am an American Day". 
This was done to recognize new American citizens, to be observed on the third Sunday in May. 

Then In 1952, the holiday is renamed “Constitution Day” and the date moved to September 17. 

In 2004 Congress changed the name of the holiday to Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. 

So the day now honours both the Constitution and those who choose to live under that Constitution.

On the occasion, US President Joe Biden highlighted how American democracy requires our constant care, vigilance, and full participation to determine the course and conscience of our Union. 

"As President, I swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that we uphold and strengthen this remarkable system of self-government for future generations ready to put their own shoulders to the wheel", he wrote in a press release.

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