Adopted …. in 1789?

17 September 2014

In the USA, today is Constitution Day, commemorating the signing of the constitution on 17 September 1787. The document was drawn up by the Constitutional Convention, an assembly of delegates from 12 of the 13 states of the USA (all except for Rhode Island) and bore 39 signatures, including that of George Washington, the first president of the USA. It defined the powers of the central government and the role of the states.

Some conflict arose with regard to the representation of individual states, which varied greatly in size, within the national legislature. The larger states wanted representation proportional to size – unsurprisingly – and the smaller states wanted equal representation for all. A compromise was reached whereby states were represented proportionally in the lower chamber of Congress and by two senators per state in the upper chamber (the Senate).

The constitution was adopted in 1789 and gained its first ten amendments in 1791 with amendments added at irregular intervals, including national women’s suffrage in 1920.

In 1952, Constitution Day was amalgamated with I am an American Day and renamed Citizenship Day. It is a day devoted to study of the constitution in schools and to general discussion and recognition of the privileges and responsibilities of being a US citizen.

Wall Street resumed trading on Citizenship Day in 2001, after a six-day shutdown following the 11 September attacks.

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