Constitution 225: Celebrating our founding document

Jefferson High School Marching Colonials Performing on the Steps of the National Archives Building on Constitution Day, 1974 (ARC 3493297)

The Constitution turns 225 on September 17, and the National Archives is ready to celebrate our founding document!

Don’t miss your chance to see the “fifth page” of the Constitution, on display for the first time. It will be in the Rotunda for public viewing only from September 14 to 17.

From now until September 17, we’ll be running a series of blog posts about the Constitution. Learn about how the Constitution came to the National Archives, how we care for the Constitution now, the unseen but important “fifth” page, the errors that its scribe made, the fate of some of its signers as recorded in the 1800 census, as well as a post debunking common myths and misconceptions about the Constitution.

Follow us on Twitter @usnatarchives and use #Constitution225 for all the Constitution news that’s fit to tweet! (And stay tuned for a special Twitter contest judged by the Archivist of the United States.)

We have great resources for teachers, too, with workshops for Constitution Day and a special page on DocsTeach.

Want more Constitution? There will be public programs at the National Archives building, including book lectures, films, panel discussions, and a birthday celebration. Our September 26 event will be streamed live online through our Ustream channel.

September 12 at 7 p.m., The Constitution Turns 225 Yale Law Professor Akhil Amar and special guest Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas explore the past, present, and future of the nation’s founding document. This program is presented in partnership with the Federalist Society and the Constitutional Accountability Center. A book signing will follow the program. Free tickets to this program will be distributed at 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.

September 15 at noon, Inherit the Wind Nominated for four Academy Awards®, this fictionalization of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial” stars Spencer Tracey, Fredric March, and Gene Kelly. (The real trial pitted William Jennings Bryan against Clarence Darrow over the teaching of evolution in schools.) Directed by Stanley Kramer. (1960; 127 minutes)

September 17 from noon to 2 p.m, Birthday Celebration Program: Happy Birthday, U.S. Constitution! In a special program in celebration of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the first 225 guests will join the Founding Fathers for cake after their performance in the McGowan Theater.

September 19 at noon, Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment A landmark in American documentary films, Robert Drew’s cinéma vérité work chronicles how President John F. Kennedy, along with his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, clashed with Alabama Governor George Wallace over racial integration at the University of Alabama in 1963. (1963; 52 minutes)

September 19 at 7 p.m., The Constitution and the War of 1812 The 2012 Claude Moore Lecture: Journalist Roger Mudd moderates a discussion on “What So Proudly We Hailed: Messages and Lessons from the War of 1812” with panelists Pietro Nivola and Benjamin Wittes from the Brookings Institution and Peter Kastor from Washington University in St. Louis. The Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier and the Brookings Institution are partners in this program, which comes on the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

September 26 at noon, The President’s Czars: Undermining the Congress and the Constitution The word “czar” may seem inappropriate in a republic, but it has been used to describe independent executive branch officials with significant authority over a policy area. Mark Rozell discusses the history of the Presidential czars since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. A book signing will follow the program. This program can also be watched live on our Ustream channel. Go to

September 29 at noon,  12 Angry Men Directed by Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men takes place entirely in a jury room. When Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) is not convinced of a boy’s guilt, an exploration of the issue “beyond a reasonable doubt” ensues. (1957; 95 minutes)

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