September 17: Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (United States)
Formerly called “I am an American Day” (1940) and then “Citizenship Day” (1952), this observance’s long new name (2004) is called Constitution Day for short. It marks the anniversary of the date in 1787 when the final draft of the Constitution of the United States was signed by delegates to the Constitutional Convention after months of wrangling. The framers of the Constitution had been arguing constantly as they met in secret, but they had leaked reports to the press indicating that all was well. “So great is the unanimity, we hear, that prevails in the convention, upon all great federal subjects, that it has been proposed to call the room in which they assemble ‘Unanimity Hall.’” The Federalists (as they came to be called) argued through June and most of July and reached an agreement on July 16. After deciding to leave out a bill of rights – because everyone was worn-out and they thought there was no need for such a list – the framers completed the final draft on September 17 and made it ready for submission to the states for ratification. The American Bar Association and other organizations make an effort to mark this anniversary by sponsoring symposia and, in some cases, offering free legal advice.