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"We the People"

Celebrating the Constitution

Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the United States Constitution remains a vital and living document. Having been strengthened by amendments, the Constitution serves as both guide and protector of U.S. citizens and their elected officials. To encourage all Americans to learn more about the Constitution, Congress in 2004 established Constitution Day, to be celebrated each year on or near September 17th, the date in 1787 when delegates to the Convention signed the Constitution.

The United States Senate is proud to commemorate this day with several articles on this website, including a feature on a painting depicting Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth composing the Connecticut Compromise. This agreement settled the issue of representation in the two houses of Congress, giving each state equal representation in the Senate.

Over the past 150 years, the Senate Chamber has undergone many changes. By the 1930s, age and decay threatened collapse of the old glass-paneled ceiling, and the Chamber's lighting and ventilation system needed modernizing. A mid-20th century renovation brought upgraded amenities and a clean, contemporary design. Cosmetic improvements in the 1980s provided a telegenic background as C-SPAN coverage of Senate proceedings began in 1986. Today, the Senate Chamber is a blend of old and new—of traditional and modern. It is a place where 19th-century mahogany desks and snuff boxes coexist with the computers and television cameras of the modern age.

For more information on the Constitution and its place as the framework for the U.S. government please visit the Senate's Art and History and Reference web pages.