Constitution Day

Constitution and Citizenship Day commemorates the signing of the Constitution by delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. It also recognizes those who “by coming of age or by naturalization” have become United States citizens (36 U.S. Code § 106).

The Duke Program in American Values and Institutions marks Constitution and Citizenship Day by giving the Duke community and the general public opportunities to learn about and reflect on efforts by the American founders and subsequent generations to create a “more perfect union.” Our Constitution Day events examine the political philosophies and real world events that shaped the American Founding, consider the Constitution’s impact on American political development and culture, examine competing interpretations of the Constitution and explore efforts by abolitionists, suffragettes and others to ensure that the Constitution more fully lives up to the idea that all human beings are created equal and endowed with “certain inalienable rights.”

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“Honoring our Imperfect Constitution with Education,” Nora Hanagan OP-ED in The News & Observer
“Congress’s declaration a decade ago that Sept. 17 – the anniversary of the signing of America’s founding document – would be known as “Constitution and Citizenship Day” may initially appear to be an example of the kind of “sanctimonious reverence” that Jefferson feared. This is, however, not necessarily the case.”