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Signing of the U.S. Constitution, Philadelphia, 1787

UTSA to observe Constitution Day Sept. 18

By Charlin Jones
Office of Student Activities

(Sept. 15, 2006)--Constitution Day will be celebrated from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Sept. 18 in the University Center window lounge on the 1604 Campus.

Pocket-sized versions of the U.S. Constitution will be distributed at the event. Additionally, poster-sized copies of the Constitution and trivia information will be on display.

As part of the observance, UTSA will host "I Signed the Constitution," a program sponsored by the National Constitution Center that encourages citizens to deepen their understanding of our nation's founding document.

The program has provided many Americans the opportunity to publicly acknowledge their dedication to the ideals of our governing document, which formed the basis of the oldest constitutional government in the world.

Constitution Day was established by law in 2004. Before the law was enacted, the holiday was known as Citizenship Day. In addition to renaming the holiday, the act mandated that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the U.S. Constitution on that day.

In May 2005, the U.S. Department of Education announced the enactment of the law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds. When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or on another holiday, it is observed on an adjacent weekday.

For more information, contact the Office of Student Activities, at (210) 458-4160 or getinvolved@utsa.edu.

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About the U.S. Constitution signing

According to About.com, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting Sept. 17, 1787. Only one item of business occupied the agenda that day, to sign the Constitution of the United States of America.

Since May 14, 1787, the 55 delegates had gathered almost daily in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation. By the middle of June, it became apparent to the delegates that to merely amend the Articles of Confederation would not be sufficient. Instead, they would write an entirely new document designed to clearly define and separate the powers of the central government, the powers of the states, the rights of the people and how the representatives of the people should be elected.

After being signed in September 1787, Congress sent printed copies of the Constitution to the state legislatures for ratification. In the months that followed, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay would write the Federalist Papers in support, while Patrick Henry, Elbridge Gerry and George Mason would organize the opposition to the new constitution. By June 21, 1788, nine states had approved the document, finally forming "a more perfect Union."

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