Celebrate Constitution Day, September 17!

Constitution of the United States

Selected Government Documents on the Making of the U.S. Constitution

Congress has designated September 17 as Constitution Day. Schools of all levels will observe the historical significance of the United States Constitution with a variety of educational programs. Selected documents are on exhibit in the Shields Library lobby.

When delegates to the Constitutional Convention convened for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation in May 1787, they elected George Washington president of the convention. The 55 delegates who attended at least some of the sessions spent the entire summer of 1787 drafting the language of the Constitution. The United States Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787 in the State House in Philadelphia.

The original constitution can be viewed in the Rotunda in the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives.

Selected Print Documents in the UC Davis Shields Library

The American Solution; Origins of the United States Constitution
Robert A. Rutland, Library of Congress, 1987
Shields Library KF4541 .R79 1987
Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution - Elliot's Debates
Online in the Making of America Collection from the University of Michigan.
Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States
Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1927
Shields Gov Info and Maps Reference JK11 1927 .U5
Documents of American History
Edited by Henry Steele Commager
Shields Library E173 .C58. Various editions.
Framers of the Constitution
Washington, D.C., National Archives and Records Administration, 1986
Shields Library E302.5 .F73 1986
The Framing of the Federal Constitution
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Washington, DC, 1986
Shields Library KF4520 .M67
Government By Choice; Inventing the United States Constitution
By Elizabeth P. McCaughey Preface by Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States, Retired New York Historical Society, 1987
Shields Library KF4520 .M39 1987
Journal of the Federal Convention
Shields Library JK141 1893
Journals of the Continental Congress: the Debates and Proceedings in the Congress
Shields Gov Info and Maps Reference. J11 .A5
Letters of Delegates to Congress 1774-1789
Library of Congress. 1976-2000
Shields Library JK1033 .L471
Papers of the Continental Congress
Shields Gov Info and Maps Reference J10 .A5
The records of the Federal convention of 1787
Edited by Max Farrand
Shields Library JK141 1911
Religion and the Founding of the American Republic
James H. Hutson. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 1998
Shields Gov Info and Maps Gov Info Stacks DOC LC 1.2:R 27
Signers of the Constitution; Historic Places Commemorating the Signing of the Constitution
United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1976
Shields Library E159 .N35 v.19
The World of Franklin and Jefferson
An exhibition designed by the Office of Charles and Ray Eames for the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. 1975
Shields Gov Info and Maps Gov Info Stacks DOC Y 3.AM 3/6:2 F 72x
1797-1991 The Bill of Rights and Beyond
Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution. 1991

Selected Web Sites About the Constitution

Making of America - University of Michigan Digital collection
  • Elliot's Debates
  • And Debates from the states that held Constitutional Conventions following the convention in Philadelphia
  • Books and pamphlets from the time period
A Century of Law Making for a New Nation; U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates - from the Library Of Congress
Documents Included:
  • Making of the Constitution
  • Farrand's Records 1787
  • Elliot's Debates 1787-1788
  • Letters of Delegates to Congress 1774-1789
  • Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789
U.S. National Archives and Record Service - America's Historical Documents
The original constitution is on display in the rotunda of the National Archives in Washington in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom and can be explored online at the NARA site. (http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/visit/rotunda.html)
NARA Includes:
  • Constitution image files
  • Bill of Rights and other Constitutional Amendments
  • More on the Constitutional Convention and the ratification process
  • Questions and Answers About the Constitution
  • The Founding Fathers - information about the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention
National Constitution Center - Interactive guide to the Constitution
The Founders' Constitution
An online compilation of the readings and foundations for the constitution's writers.
Analysis and Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution: 1992 Edition Plus Supplements - current edition on GPO Access
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government Information on GPO Access - Constitution for grades 9-12