America’s charter has survived the Civil War and two World Wars, and remains a fierce influence around the world.
The Constitution was formally ratified on June 21, 1788, after New Hampshire voted to agree to the document. Texas would become a state 57 years later in 1845, having been an independent republic since 1836.
Texas seceded from the Union in 1861 and was readmitted after the deceased confederacy lost the Civil War and Republican President Abraham Lincoln led the abolition of slavery. The current Texas Constitution was enacted in 1876, though it has been amended hundreds of times since then.
Article 1, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution reads, “Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States.”
After being urged by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the United States Congress in the 1950s established Constitution Week to be held annually September 17-23. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to issue a presidential proclamation for Constitution Week.
Decades later, on December 8, 2004, President George W. Bush signed Public Law 108-447, part of which made Constitution Day and Citizenship Day a national observance. Citizenship Day had already been a patriotic observance on September 17, but the law Bush enacted added Constitution Day as well.
Bush had served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000 before his ascension to the White House.
The law also requires “each educational institution that receives Federal funds” to provide educational programs on the United States Constitution every year on Constitution Day. Under the law, federal employees are also to be provided with education on the Constitution as part of their onboarding.
In his proclamation for Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and Constitution Week, President Biden said, “The Framers of the Constitution understood the extraordinary promise of a democratic system of government — a Nation that could be made a ‘more perfect Union’ by each passing generation to come.”
Biden also took a swipe at “grave attempts to suppress and subvert the right to vote” and urged that “we must continue to rebuff these threats to ensure that American democracy remains healthy and strong.”
The president has been a critic of the Texas Election Integrity Protection Act, which was designed to reduce the likelihood of fraud in elections and increase confidence in election results. Opponents have characterized the law as “voter suppression” and leveled accusations of racism against its authors.
In Austin, Governor Greg Abbott issued a Constitution Week proclamation on Wednesday celebrating the United States “as a beacon of freedom and liberty.”
“Our constitution is the greatest charter of liberty the world has ever known, securing our fundamental, God-given rights to free speech, to freedom of religion, to bear arms, and so much more,” Abbott wrote. “The continued success of our democratic republic depends on our fidelity to these founding principles.”
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."