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Constitution Day

Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. The day honors the date 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787. 

In 2004, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill for the fiscal year that included an amendment by U.S. Senator Robert Byrd to establish the federal holiday. Prior to the enactment of the law, the observance was known as Citizenship Day and observed on the third Sunday in May. 

In addition to renaming the observance Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions, and all federal agencies, provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.


In May 2005, the Education Department announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.

All institutions receiving federal funding, including funding through the U.S. Education Department, are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution on September 17 of each year (or in the preceding or following week if the date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday). 

What does the Constitution Day mandate require of institutions?

Each educational institution that receives federal funds for a fiscal year is required to hold an educational program about the U.S. Constitution for its students. The U.S. Education Department does not mandate or prescribe particular curricula or lesson plans, but provides a list of learning resources. AACRAO supplies additional resources for Constitution Day activities, as well.

Source: National Constitution Center