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Constitution Day & Citizenship Day and Week: History of Constitution Day

Learn about Constitution Day & Citizenship Day through various government resources


The USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship, sails under her own power in Charlestown, Mass., Aug. 19, 2012. This was the second time in 131 years the ship sailed without assistance.  The exercise commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Constitution’s victory over the British frigate Guerriere during the War of 1812.  --Wikimedia Commons.

See the original sail plan elsewhere in this library guide. 

Origins of the day

On September 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the U.S. Constitution. For the past 230 years, the Constitution has served as the supreme law of the land. The Constitution, along with the Bill of Rights and other amendments, define our government and guarantee our rights. Each year, on September 17, Americans celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. In addition, September 17-23 is also recognized as Constitution Week. During this time, USCIS encourages Americans to reflect on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and what it means to be a U.S. citizen.

We also recognize people who are taking steps to become U.S. citizens. To help them prepare, USCIS offers study resources for the civics and English portions of the naturalization interview and test. The Constitution and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship are important in the United States and prospective citizens may see these items in several places on the naturalization test. There are many questions on the civics test on these two topics, such as, “What is the supreme law of the land?” and “What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?”.

See more at the teachers guide.  (U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services)

Additional Government Links & Resources

36 U.S.C. ยง 106

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is prescribed by § 106 and Constitution Week is prescribed by § 108 of U.S. Code Title 36 (Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies, and Organizations)

(see amendments and revisions to the act)

The Act -- U.S. Code Title 36

Scholarly Communications Librarian

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Lucy Duhon
The University of Toledo
Carlson Library
2801 W. Bancroft St. (MS #509)
Toledo, OH 43606 USA
VM: (419) 530-2838
University webpage

Constitution Week Act -- U.S. Code Title 36

Constitution Week -- September 17-23

Originally petitioned for by the Daughters of the American Revolution, signed by President Eisenhower in 1956 and subsequently put into practice by President George W. Bush in 2002, the observance of Constitution Week is designed "to promote study and education about the constitution which was originally adopted by the American Congress of the Confederation on September 17, 1787."  --Wikipedia.

Did you know that when Constitution Day falls on a weekend day, it is typically commemorated on an adjacent week day, such as the following Monday?