Resources for Teaching about the Constitution
September 17 is designated as Constitution Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. The National Archives is the permanent home of the U.S. Constitution.
Here we’ve compiled some resources from the National Archives and some of our partner organizations that you can use for teaching about the Constitution.
- A featured page for teaching about the Constitution, from DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives.
- “The Charters of Freedom” online exhibit about the creation and history of the Constitution, housed at the National Archives.
- Exploring the United States Constitution eBook, connecting the billions of records in the holdings of the National Archives to the principles found in the United States Constitution.
- The United States Constitution course on iTunes U
- Teaching Six Big Ideas in the Constitution
- Founders Online
- Primary Sources related to the U.S. Constitution. from congressarchives on Tumblr
- And don’t forget past U.S. Constitution-related posts here on todaysdocument!
To the President of Congress
[Philadelphia, 17 September 1787]
We have now the Honor to submit to the Consideration of the United States in Congress assembled that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.
The Friends of our Country have long seen and desired that the Power of making War Peace and Treaties, that of levying Money & regulating Commerce and the correspondent executive and judicial Authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general Government of the Union. But the Impropriety of delegating such extensive Trust to one Body of Men is evident—Hence results the Necessity of a different Organization.
It is obviously impracticable in the fœderal Government Of these States to secure all Rights of independent Sovereignty to each and yet provide for the Interest and Safety of all—Individuals entering into Society must give up a Share of Liberty to preserve the Rest. The Magnitude of the Sacrifice must depend as well on Situations and Circumstances as on the Object to be obtained. It is at all Times difficult to draw with Precision the Lines between those Rights which must be surrendered and those which may be reserved. And on the present Occasion this Difficulty was encreased by a Difference among the several States as to their Situation Extent Habits and particular Interests.
In all our Deliberations on this Subject we kept steadily in our View that which appears to us the greatest Interest of every true american the Consolidation of our Union in which is involved our Prosperity Felicity Safety perhaps our national Existence. this important Consideration seriously and deeply impressed on our Minds led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on Points of inferior Magnitude than might have been otherwise expected. And thus the Constitution which we now present is the Result of a Spirit of Amity and of that mutual Deference & Concession which the Peculiarity of our political Situation rendered indispensible.
That it will meet the full and entire Approbation of every State is not perhaps to be expected. But each will doubtless consider that had her Interests been alone consulted the Consequences might have been particularly disagreable or injurious to others. That it is liable to as few Exceptions as could reasonably have been expected we hope and believe That it may promote the lasting Welfare of that Country so dear to us all and secure her Freedom and Happiness is our most ardent wish.
Happy Constitution Day! The Constitution is 226 years old, and is the oldest written constitution still in use today. It is on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. You can see a high-res image and read a transcript of the Constitution here: http://go.usa.gov/D5VR
Top Five Facts about the Constitution!
Five: The Constitution has 4,543 words, including the signatures. It takes about 30 minutes to read.
Four: Two of the first 12 amendments submitted were rejected; the remaining ten became the Bill of Rights.
Three: The Chief Justice is mentioned in the Constitution, but the number of Justices is not specified.
Two: Only one amendment to the Constitution has been repealed: the 18th (Prohibition).
One: The Constitution does not give us our rights and liberties, but it does guarantee them.
For more Constitution myth busting, read today’s blog post: http://go.usa.gov/D5kJ
We the People
of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Teach your child about the Constitution on September 17!
Join us for Constitution Day activities in the Boeing Learning Center at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
- Draft your own amendment to the Constitution
- Play games and learn more about the Framers
- Design your own American flag
- Discover the rules for adding more states to the Union
- Write with a quill pen, just like they did in 1789
Activities are free and open to all visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Constitution Day at the National Archives
A Storified recap of the Constitution’s 225th Birthday at the National Archives!
The Constitution turns 225 on September 17, and the National Archives is ready to celebrate our founding document!
There will be public programs at the National Archives building, including book lectures, films, panel discussions, and a birthday celebration. Two events, September 5 and September 26, be streamed live online through our Ustream channel.
Image: Jefferson High School Marching Colonials Performing on the Steps of the National Archives Building on Constitution Day, 1974 (ARC 3493297)
Follow us on Twitter @usnatarchives and use #Constitution225 for all the Constitution news that’s fit to tweet! (And stay tuned for a special Twitter contest judged by the Archivist of the United States.)
Celebrating the 225th Anniversary of Constitution Day!
September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.
More Constitution-related events and offerings from the National Archives, including:
- Constitution Day at the National Archives
- The Constitution of the United States
- View the Constitution in Person
- Read a Transcript of the Constitution
- Constitution Day Events in the DC Metro Area
- Constitution of the United States Facebook page
- Follow the National Archives on Twitter @USNatArchives (follow #Constitution225 for special updates)
- Check out our series of Constitution Blog posts on Prologue: Pieces of History
- Teaching Activities and Primary Sources from DocsTeach
Go inside the vaults of the National Archives learn more about some other remarkable documents that lead up to the signing of the Constitution in this video.
Happy Birthday, U.S. Constitution!
For anyone near the National Archives in Washington DC today:
Today from 1-2 pm in the Jefferson Room:
In a special program in celebration of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the first 224 guests will join First Lady Dolley Madison for an ice cream social as she describes White House entertainment in the early 19th century.