Commemorating the Constitution
All Citadel students are encouraged to refresh their memories regarding the United States Constitution by clicking "read more" to review this educational program celebrating the signing of our Constitution on September 17, 1787.
On September 17, we commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States. Over a period of approximately five months in 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia developed the broad outlines of the nation's governing structures, established the general powers of government, and provided for limitations on the government's powers.
The Constitution provided for the expansion of the national government's powers well beyond those given to it in the Articles of Confederation, the governing document in effect from 1781 to 1789 (and therefore in effect at the time of the convention). It also restructured the government in significant ways - for example, by establishing a separate executive, something not provided for in the Articles - and set new patterns of federal-state relations.
The system established in 1787, and put into effect upon the ratification of the necessary nine states in 1789, has endured over two centuries. Although it has been changed both informally through judicial decisions, congressional and presidential actions, and public interpretations and customs and formally through written amendments, the broad institutional foundation originally established continues to frame governmental and political processes in this country. Moreover, the U.S. Constitution remains the oldest operating written constitution in the world and often serves as a model for those seeking to establish a constitutional order.
All Citadel students are encouraged to refresh their memories regarding the Constitution during this time of commemoration. The following hotlinks are to some key sources that will help in this.
Site: U. S. Constitution Online
This comprehensive site includes the texts of the U. S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the Confederate States of America together with information about the Constitutional Convention and the delegates to it, amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and a variety of other topics relevant to understanding and appreciating the Constitution. One interesting feature is this website's "Not in the Constitution" page which briefly discusses nearly 25 topics often commonly supposed to be addressed in the Constitution.
Site: The Federalist Papers
This website, maintained by the Library of Congress, includes the complete text of The Federalist Papers, a series of 85 essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay in support of the adoption of the Constitution in 1787 and 1788 and regarded as absolutely essential reading in understanding the objectives, concerns, and thinking of those who drafted the document. See also the companion page, About the Federalist Papers, at this link [thomas.loc.gov].
Site: The Constitution Society
The Constitution Society addresses that aspect of constitutionalism that emphasizes that constitutional government means limited government. The site includes useful historical documents stretching back as far as Aristotle's Politics.
Site: The National Archives Experience [and the Constitution]
This site provides information about how to visit the original copy of the Constitution maintained at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The site also includes an in-depth look at the Constitutional Convention and the ratification process as well as a "questions and answers" feature which addresses many interesting facts about the Constitution.
Site: National Constitution Center
This site is maintained by the National Constitution Center located near Independence Hall (where the Constitution was drafted) in Philadelphia. The Center maintains a museum dedicated to various aspects of the Constitution. The website contains information about the Constitution, about the Center's museum, and about how to become involved in politics.
Site: The Avalon Project at Yale University School of Law
This website maintained by the Avalon Project has collected an extraordinarily large volume of historical documents related to the Constitution (and, more generally, to the rule of law) and makes them available on-line.