Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, the final day of the Constitutional Convention.
Now every Sept. 17 in the U.S. is known as Constitution Day.
Here are 5 things to know about the U.S. Constitution:
Credit: U.S. COURTS/PROVIDED
Credit: U.S. COURTS/PROVIDED
The signing of the U.S. Constitution
Nearly 150 people were involved in creating or signing some of the country’s founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, according to the National Archives and Records Administration.
However, only 39 Founding Fathers — including our nation’s first president — signed the U.S. Constitution.
Amending the Constitution
Adding a new amendment to the Constitution is a long process.
The Constitution outlines that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate — or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures. There has never been a constitutional convention convened for any of the additions to the Constitution.
The Congress then proposes an amendment as a joint resolution to the Office of the Federal Register at the National Archives and Records Administration. The president does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, so his or her signature is not required or needed.
The resolution is submitted to each state governor, who then submits the amendment to their respective state legislature.
As soon as three-fourths of the states ratifies the proposed amendment, which today is 38 of 50 states, it then becomes part of the U.S. Constitution.
The first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. The Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution was passed by Congress on March 4, 1794, and ratified by the states on Feb. 7, 1795.
It states: “The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”
The last addition to the U.S. Constitution
The last constitutional amendment was proposed on Sept. 25, 1789, but it wasn’t ratified until May 7, 1992.
It states: “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.”
What took so long?
This amendment was part of 12 proposed amendments submitted by the 1st Congress to the states to be ratified. Ten of those 12 proposals were ratified in 1791. However, this amendment did not get ratified by enough states.
Fast forward to 1982 when University of Texas sophomore Gregory Watson wrote a term paper on how this amendment could still be ratified, according to the New York Times. Watson got a “C” on the paper because his professor thought it couldn’t be done.
Watson launched a nationwide campaign to get this amendment ratified, and 202 years, seven months and 10 days after it was proposed, it was ratified by the states.
William Blount of North Carolina was one of three delegates from North Carolina to sign the U.S. Constitution.
He was involved in the formation of the Tennessee, and was a Senator from the state in the 4th and 5th United States Congress.
Blount was also the first Senator to be impeached and expelled from the U.S. Senate.
Blount was selected as one of Tennessee’s first two U.S. Senators in August 1796, however his tenure lasted less than a year. He was accused of inciting the Cherokee Indians and Creek to assist the British invasion of the Spanish territory of west Florida.
Michael D. Pitman has been a reporter in southwest Ohio since 1999. He's covered local governments in Warren and Butler counties, as well as state and national issues. He currently covers the cities of Fairfield and Hamilton.