Today is Constitution Day, a federal observance of the initial signing of the Constitution of the United States on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia. The Constitution is an often cited source during debates and protests, and attempts at interpretation are plentiful. While there may never be a consensus as to how we avail ourselves to this document, it is always a good idea to educate yourself. Perhaps you would like to read the Founder’s own words about creating the Constitution; how about watching a debate between James Madison and George Mason “live” from Colonial Williamsburg? Or you can view the 2020 Liberty Medal Ceremony for Ruth Bader Ginsberg in recognition of her efforts to advance liberty and equality for all. You can dig in and expose yourself to the variety of perspectives on the Constitution across American and around the world, while checking out these videos from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Read a book from our emeritus faculty member John Finn, Peopling the Constitution or more organically read the Constitution of the United States for yourself.
As we approach this year’s presidential election, we should take a moment to remember the path to suffrage through the amendment process. In August, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. The road was not straight or smooth, but the participants were determined and tenacious. You can learn more about women’s equality and leadership at Women and the Constitution or through this Wesleyan library guide. However you want to spend Constitution Day, reading and learning more is always a good choice, and the Wesleyan Library has an abundance of resources you can access. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com with any questions.
–Nancy Putnam, Research Services and Government Documents Librarian