3 Thoughtful Ways to Celebrate Constitution Day, September 17, 2015

Posted by Mary Hendra on September 16, 2015

On this Constitution Day, how will your students find meaning in the Constitution as it relates to their own lives, protections and responsibilities? Here are three ways to recognize Constitution Day on the official day, September 17, 2015.

1. EXPLORE Obergefell v. Hodges with your students this Constitution Day and consider the impact of Supreme Court Cases in securing Constitutional freedoms.

On June 29th of 2015, a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court upheld the rights of same sex partners, by affirming the constitutionality of gay marriage. Justice Kennedy wrote in the 34-page opinion.

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times...

The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”

Landmark cases like Obergefell v. Hodges help us realize that what seemed to be impossible at a certain moment is in fact possible.

2. WATCH this StoryCorps video with your students, and discuss the role of individuals in making democracy "a more perfect union."

The power of the Constitution is often in relationship with the actions of individuals. In fact, it is individuals who, with persistent efforts, bring awareness and consciousness to the injustices that exist in our time.

3. EXAMINE these questions within the rich documents included in this downloadable guide: The Reconstruction Era and The Fragility of Democracy.

In Facing History and Ourselves' recent publication The Reconstruction Era and The Fragility of Democracy we pose the following questions:

  • What can a nation’s law reveal about that nation’s universe of obligation?
  • What does it mean to be equal? Is equality essential for democracy?

Through this resource, students learn about some of the limits to the transformation of American democracy during post-Civil War Reconstruction and about several groups of Americans who demanded that the promise of equality made a reality for them. These groups included African Americans, women, workers, immigrants, Chinese Americans and Native Americans.

How will YOUR students find meaning in the Constitution as it relates to their own lives, protections and responsibilities?

Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Reconstruction, Choosing to Participate, Critical Thinking

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