by Winn W. Wasson, Social Science Librarian
September 17th marks Constitution Day. It was on this day in 1787 that the U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia and sent to the 13 states for ratification. In 2004, the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) inserted a provision into a spending bill that required educational institutions that receive federal funds (which is nearly all of them) to have activities that observe Constitution Day. To commemorate the observance, SU Libraries will have a display and pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution available for members of the SU community.
The events of this year, both in the past and in the immediate future, have served to remind us that the U.S. Constitution creates structures of government that make some outcomes more likely than others and that advantage some people and disadvantage others. Before I became a librarian, I taught political science at the community-college-level. In a semester-long project, I had my American Government students take a critical look at the U.S. Constitution and ended each semester with a mock modern-day Constitutional Convention, where students would bring and debate their own proposals for how they might change the American system of government.
This Constitution Day, please visit Bird Library to view our display and pick up a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution. But also engage in some reflection and critical thinking about what you might change about the U.S. Constitution to improve the society in which we live. And as you do this, please note that SU Libraries has a Research Guide devoted to Government Information, curated by our Government and Geo-Information Librarian, John Olson, and that we are also a congressional designated depository for U.S. government documents. These can be excellent primary source material for your U.S.-government-related research. For secondary sources that critique the U.S. Constitution and the American system of government, as SU Libraries’ Social Science Librarian I am happy to help you. I also encourage you to check out the SU Libraries Research Guides on Political Science and Public Administration.