Sept. 17 – Constitution and Citizenship Day

On Sept. 17, 1787 the Constitution was signed. Each year, on what has become known as Constitution Day, publicly funded educational institutions and all federal agencies are required to reflect on the Constitution and its meaning. The Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789, a date established by the Confederation Congress after New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify it. Two years late, in 1791, the Bill of Rights were ratified, completing what most people think of as the original Constitution. The day is not only called Constitution Day, but also Citizenship Day, not only commemorating the creation of the supreme law of the land, but also encouraging Americans to reflect on the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Compared to most countries, the United States has an open process for becoming a citizen, and for much of its history, its borders have been among the most open in the world to immigrants. In addition, the American Constitution is not only one of the oldest active constitutions in the world, more attention is paid to adherence to it in the United States than likely any other country in the world. Why might that be?


  1. What is the difference between a naturalized and U.S. born citizen? What is the citizenship process like?
  2. Why do you think that the Framers did not originally include the Bill of Rights in the Constitution?
  3. What role do Citizenship and the Constitution play in American governance? What principles do citizenship and constitutionalism embody?
Image Citation:

14, Sept. 2018, Still shot from Simpson’s episode with Apu, Homer, and the American Flag . Retrieved from <>.