Image from the National Archive
I, of all people, do not presume to give anyone a history lesson. However, it was brought to my attention that today (September 17) is “Constitution Day“. “Yay for the Constitution”, I thought. “It’s one of the (if not THE) seminal documents in our country’s history and is still going strong today. Good for us!” I continued to think about this and add up what I knew (off the top of my head) about the Constitution. I will not embarrass myself by sharing that list.
Here are a couple of excellent websites you can visit for detailed, pertinent information: The Constitution Center and the National Archive. Alternatively, you might just want to know the basics. In brief: The Constitution, composed and signed in 1787, is the “supreme law” of our country. It forms the framework of our democratic government (federal, state, judicial) and delineates how the government will interact with people (citizens & non-citizens) within the U.S. The rights that we are most familiar with are represented in the amendments to the Constitution (the first 10 of which are called the Bill of Rights).
Obviously, this post is not about documents that our Special Collections department holds (we only wish!). We do, however, have a book entitled The Constitutions of the United States, According to the Latest Amendments that was published in Philadelphia in 1802 and contains the US Constitution as well as all of the then-existing states’ constitutions. Not a light read, I can assure you, but an interesting book nonetheless!