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Archive for September, 2012

Constitution 225: There’s a “fifth” page the public has never seen

 

The Constitution Resolution, sometimes called the "fifth page" of the Constitution, will be on public display for the first time on September 14-19, 2012, in Washington, DC.

Millions of people have passed through the Rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, to see the original parchments that are our Charters of Freedom. They pause to look at the faded writing on the Declaration of Independence, the bold opening words “We the People” on the Constitution, and the straightforward enumeration of our Bill of Rights.

This year, for the first time, visitors will be able to see what is sometimes referred to as the “fifth page” of the Constitution—the Resolutions of Transmittal to the Continental Congress. A special display for the 225th anniversary of the Constitution in September, will feature this document. “It’s up there with the Constitution in terms of value,” says curator Alice Kamps.

The resolutions spell out how the new Constitution would be adopted by the United States and how the new government would be put into effect.

Instead of seeking the consent of Congress and the 13 state legislatures, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention proposed that the Constitution “be laid before the United States in Congress assembled” and then submitted  to  special ratifying conventions elected by the people in each of the states. Once nine states had ratified … [ Read all ]

Constitution 225: Conservation and Re-encasement

 

Given the care and consideration with which conservators now treat the Constitution, it’s jarring to see early photos of its handling. In this photo, taken in 1921, a man holds the third page of the Constitution in an oak frame, just before putting it on top of some mail sacks and a cushion in a Model-T Ford postal truck to transfer it from the State Department to the Library of Congress. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/96507341/

In light of the upcoming 225th Constitution Day on September 17, I spoke with Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler and Catherine Nicholson, two of the very few people who have touched the Constitution in the last century, about how they approached the task of conserving the Charters of Freedom.[ Read all ]

Constitution 225: Celebrating our founding document

Jefferson High School Marching Colonials Performing on the Steps of the National Archives Building on Constitution Day, 1974 (ARC 3493297)

The Constitution turns 225 on September 17, and the National Archives is ready to celebrate our founding document!

Don’t miss your chance to see the “fifth page” of the Constitution, on display for the first time. It will be in the Rotunda for public viewing only from September 14 to 17.

From now until September 17, we’ll be running a series of blog posts about the Constitution. Learn about how the Constitution came to the National Archives, how we care for the Constitution now, the unseen but important “fifth” page, the errors that its scribe made, the fate of some of its signers as recorded in the 1800 census, as well as a post debunking common myths and misconceptions about the Constitution.

Follow us on Twitter @usnatarchives and use #Constitution225 for all the Constitution news that’s fit to tweet! (And stay tuned for a special Twitter contest judged by the Archivist of the United States.)

We have great resources for teachers, too, with workshops for Constitution Day and a special page on DocsTeach.

Want more Constitution? There will be public programs at the National Archives building, including book lectures, films, panel discussions, and a birthday celebration. Our September 26 event will be streamed live … [ Read all ]