Most people know that July 4th is our nation’s birthday, but few know that September 17th is the birthday of our government. On that date in 1787 delegates at the Philadelphia Convention completed and signed the U.S. Constitution.
The Constitution is the most important document in the United States. It establishes the American government and our position as a democracy. The Constitution also lays out our freedoms as Americans. The ideas on which America was founded–commitments to the rule of law, limited government and the ideals of liberty, equality and justice–are embodied in the Constitution, the oldest written constitution of any nation on earth. The U.S. Constitution has been the basis of other democracies around the world. The Constitution is also known as a “living document” because it grows and changes as America and its people grow and change.
Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia accomplished a long-standing goal, passing a law designating September 17th as Constitution Day. Constitution Day is intended to celebrate not only the birthday of our government, but the ideas that make us Americans.