The Founding Fathers Had No Idea!

Constitution Day and Title IV Entwined

We The people text
Photo by Anthony Garand / Unsplash

Little did we know that we had a date with destiny in December 2004, when the late Senator Robert C. Byrd, believed that students lacked significant knowledge regarding the U.S. Constitution. Senator Byrd proposed an amendment that was passed by both houses of Congress which gave rise to Constitution Day. The legislation required that all educational institutions receiving federal funds implement educational programs relating to the U.S. Constitution. I always wondered how commemorating the Constitution’s birthday became a condition to participation in Title IV programs. I know that celebrating Constitution Day has no bearing on a student’s financial aid package, but here we are approaching another September 17th. Let’s gear up for an interesting day of festivities.

What is Constitution Day?

Constitution Day is observed every year on September 17 to honor the signing and adoption of the constitution of the United States of America by the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Also, Constitution Day is also known as Citizenship Day, which was the name of the holiday until 2004, as its purpose was to "recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens". Citizenship Day, in turn, was inspired by "I am an American Day", created in the 1940s to celebrate citizenship. The official name of the holiday is now "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day".

In researching Constitution Day, I found some ideas and resources you can use craft your own celebration. Thank you IFAP!


PL 108-447, “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005,” Dec. 8, 2004; 118 Stat. 2809, 3344-45 (Sec.111).