SIRS Knowledge Source®
Promoting the education and awareness of the history and tenets of the U.S. Constitution
Following the Revolutionary War, the United States of America was in need of a strong national government. The eight-year struggle for independence had weakened states’ abilities to enforce laws, collect taxes, pay debts, negotiate power and regulate trade.
So in 1787, the new country’s political leaders met at a constitutional convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to amend the Articles of Confederation, the nation’s first governing document. But rather than revise the existing document, the delegates decided to draft a new one. What emerged was the Constitution of the United States, a landmark text that outlines the fundamental principles of U.S. government at both the national and state levels.
On September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by 39 delegates from 12 states. That day is now celebrated each year as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and the week of September 17 is annually proclaimed as Constitution Week.
Explore the history, principles and impact of the U.S. Constitution; learn about the responsibilities of citizenship; and explore court cases that have expanded or curtailed constitutional amendments in the SKS Spotlight of the Month honoring Constitution Week. SIRS editor-selected, school-appropriate articles and Web sites include: