Tomorrow, September 17, the one hundred and thirty-second anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States, has been officially proclaimed “Constitution Day,” and designated the occasion for holding of patriotic Americanism gatherings by the governors of 20 states.
The News (Frederick, Maryland) Sep 16, 1919
WHAT THE CONSTITUTION HAS DONE.
The constitution of the United States has been viewed with a reverence paid to no other writing except the Bible. All over the world oppressed peoples have looked to it with longing. They have wished that they might come here and live under such a system, or might adopt a similar basis of government in their own land. Copies of the Constitution dropped from airplanes were an important factor in covering the German people of the fault of their own government.
Yet with all this reverence, many people never read this sublime document. Some consider it outworn and want to overturn it by revolution. To counteract this propaganda, the idea was conceived of holding a Constitution Day on September 17, the anniversary of the signing of the document, the purpose of which should be to popularize the Constitution and call attention to the blessings it has brought.
People who find fault with existing social conditions would do well if they would read this constitution, and see how completely it gives all power into the hands of the people. If the people are not being justly treated, they have the power in their own hands. If they don’t remedy existing evils, the fault is not in the system. It is in the people that have these rights and privileges, but either do not exercise them at all, or use them without judgment.
The American people have a reason to be well satisfied with what they have achieved under this constitution. They have opened the doors of opportunity so that any boy or girl can get an education. The higher ranks of success are filled with those who started from humble homes.
In the schools the United States constitution should be a subject of constant study. Every boy and girl should be shown how it has made this country the most prosperous and happy on the globe.
The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Sep 17, 1919
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SEVENTEENTH PROCLAIMED NEW HOLIDAY
SACRAMENTO, Sept. 9. – Governor Stephens has issued a proclamation suggesting September 17, the 132d anniversary of the signing of the federal constitution be observed in California as “Constitution Day.”
The proclamation refers to “a spirit of irresponsible assault on our institutions” as prevalent and urges that a record for the federal constitution be promoted as that document is the national bulwark.
The proclamation follows:
“September 17 will be the one hundred and thirty-second anniversary of the signing of the constitution of the United States of America. No step in the progress of human government ever had greater significance for the well being of mankind.
“It behooves all good American citizens to strive to inculcate in our people and in the minds of the rising generation an understanding and respect and reverence for our country’s constitution in order that the principles of right and freedom embodied therein may be maintained and safeguarded in the interest of orderly and just government.
“A spirit of irresponsible assault on our institutions prevails to a considerable extent in our land.
“The arts of clever propaganda seem formidable against our courts and our constitutions. This advocacy of lawlessness and ruin cannot endure. The sound citizenship of our country will manifest itself and the vicious agitation must soon disappear.
“It is the duty of all loyal Americans to denounce the promotion of anarchistic doctrine and to assert themselves in support of the laws that guarantee peaceful pursuit and safety of the people and their liberties.
“The great bulwark is our federal constitution and we must ever promote a regard for it and a realization of its beneficence.
“I therefore suggest that September 17 be observed as constitution day, that proper exercises be held in the public schools throughout the state and that citizens everywhere give time for thought and reflection on the significance of the occasion when our courageous forefathers, under the inspiration of God gave to our country and humanity this greatest instrument of free government ever created by hand of men.”
Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Sep 9, 1919
Some misapprehension exists as to Constitution Day being a legal holiday. It seems to have been accepted that the Governor’s proclamation on the subject placed it in that category, but the proclamation was really but a recommendation. The misapprehension was so considerable, however, that an official explanation was necessary.
Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Sep 17, 1919
President Harding, in indorsing the national observance of constitution day, next Saturday, has written to the constitutional league of America that “no governmental system has demonstrated a greater capacity to meet and bear the utmost stresses of human crisis than our own.”
“I have always thought of constitution day as marking the real birth of our nation,” said the president’s letter as made public by the league.
“The trying times of the last seven years have supremely tested the governmental systems of all the world and I feel that we of America may well felicitate ourselves and give thanks to Divine Providence that in this test no governmental system has demonstrated a great capacity to meet and bear the utmost stresses of human crisis than our own.
“Once more we remind ourselves that the constitution is strong enough for every requirement, elastic enough to adapt itself to changing conditions and developing evolutions. So on this anniversary we may well dedicate ourselves to the supreme purpose of maintaining our institutions under it, and of making them in the future as they have been in the past, a beacon light to illumine the way of progress for men seeking freedom everywhere.”
The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Sep 13, 1921