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Constitution Day 2023

In honor of the signing of the United States of America's Constitution, this guide has been created to help people find information and events related to the United States Constitution.

Constitution Day 2023

What is Constitution Day?

Constitution Day is a federal observance held annually on September 17 in honor of the signing of the United States of America's Constitution. Here is a brief guide to the U.S. Constitution. People can find information about books, websites, events and videos on this guide. 

Maryland Democracy Initiative

Get involved with the Maryland Democracy Initiative, via UMD's School of Public Policy

MISSION: The Maryland Democracy Initiative grows the capacity of all people for a lifetime of civic participation in service to a fairer and more just society. We accomplish this through innovative interdisciplinary, community-centered research, teaching, learning and civic engagement.

The Initiative combines and leverages the skills of its four core colleges and Maryland’s public, land-grant university. Our work prioritizes best practices and innovations in helping grow people’s capacity for effective civic engagement. In doing so, we meet people where they are at all stages of life, with a continuing eye on where technology and behavior are moving. We concentrate on areas of need not addressed elsewhere. We focus on work that is scalable and replicable to maximize our impact.

We start with the hypothesis, based on research and the knowledge of our fields, that people require five capacities to participate in a healthy democracy. The capacities are:

  • Civic Competence: This includes a grasp of the skills needed to participate in civic life, skills gained in school, at home and throughout life. 
  • Knowledge: This includes awareness of current events, an understanding of history and familiarity with the systems, strategies and principles of how our democratic republic works.
  • Opportunity: This includes the opportunity to vote, to voice one’s opinion and to participate in civic life in a myriad of other ways – and ensuring that these opportunities are not denied or made all but impossible to access.   
  • Agency: This includes a feeling that one can make a difference, that one should participate. Without it, a person might have knowledge and skills and still believe the system is so stacked against them or unfair that their participation doesn’t matter. 
  • Respect: This includes an appreciation for democratic institutions, for the democratic process, for the rights and opinions of other people and belief in working for the common good. 

Confident in the future of American democracy, we draw knowledge and inspiration from the past, including the example of Maryland native Frederick Douglass - journalist, statesmen and champion of education. We move forward with an urgent calling: strengthening democracy for all is a Grand Challenge of our time. 

Check out the 2023 Events tab for information on the Maryland Democracy Initiative's Constitution Day event! 

Federal Government Resources

A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution Book Cover

A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution

This book tells the story of that amazing summer in Philadelphia, and makes you feel as if you were there, listening to the arguments, getting to know the framers, and appreciating the difficult and critical decisions being made. Retelling a story that is more hallowed than understood, Carol Berkin brings us into the world of eighteenth-century America and shows us the human side of a great accomplishment.

The Idea of America: Reflections on the birth of the United States Book Cover

The Idea of America: Reflections on the birth of the United States

In a series of elegant and illuminating essays, Gordon S. Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution-from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment-and the founders' attempts to forge an American democracy.

The Blessings of Liberty: A concise history of the Constitution of the United States Book Cover

The Blessings of Liberty: A concise history of the Constitution of the United States

This concise, accessible text covers important trends and events in U.S. constitutional history, encompassing key Supreme Court and lower-court cases. The volume begins by discussing the English and colonial origins of American constitutionalism. Following an analysis of the American Revolution's meaning to constitutional history, the text traces the Constitution's evolution from the Early Republic to the present day.

Women and the U. S. Constitution Book Cover

Women and the U. S. Constitution

Divided into three parts--History, Interpretation, and Practice--this provocative volume incorporates law, history, political theory, and philosophy to analyze the U.S. Constitution as a whole in relation to the rights and fate of women.

Founding Fathers: Brief lives of the framers of the United States Constitution Book Cover

Founding Fathers: Brief lives of the framers of the United States Constitution

In this concise and valuable reference work--the only compilation of biographical sketches for all fifty-five Framers who attended the Philadelphia Convention--Bradford examines the Framer's constitutional theories, their visions for the newly founded union, and their opinions on ratification of the document that would address such paramount issues as national revenue, public debt, currency, removal of trade barriers between the states, and provisions for the common defense. Delving into the political and philosophical principles of the founders, Bradford illuminates their motives, thoughts, and actions and illustrates how their political decision-making was influenced by religion, education, environment, economic circumstances, and personal background.