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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary

New Jersey Department of State to Commemorate Constitution Week

NJ State Archives and NJ Historical Commission to Host Programs During September 17-21

 

TRENTON, N.J. – As part of the nationwide observance of Constitution Week, New Jersey will host a series of commemorative events showcasing the state’s invaluable contributions to the creation of America’s governing document.

Led by the New Jersey State Archives and the New Jersey Historical Commission, the celebration will begin Monday, September 17th, with an exhibition of the first page New Jersey’s 1787 Ratification of the United States Constitution. This beautiful parchment contains the full text of our country’s charter, beginning with the iconic words “We the People …” The display will be located in the State Archives’ Manuscript Reading Room on the 2nd Floor of 225 West State Street in Trenton. Public hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On Friday, September 21st at 11:00 a.m., New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way will observe Constitution Week at the same location. She will offer remarks along with guest speaker Dr. Jonathan Mercantini, Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Kean University. Professor Mercantini will talk about William Livingston and the rest of the New Jersey delegation sent to the federal constitutional convention.

For this event and throughout the day on September 21st, the State Archives will also exhibit a tabletop display featuring other documents relating to New Jersey’s ratification, delegation, and the legislative process. Among these unique manuscripts are:

  • The New Jersey ratification convention’s book of proceedings;
  • Livingston’s transmittal of the first public printing of the draft constitution to the New Jersey Legislature (one of only a dozen known to survive);
  • A petition to the Legislature from residents of Salem County urging adoption of the proposed Constitution; and
  • The law authorizing the New Jersey convention and related legislative documents.

The State Archives will also display a color catalog of scans of these manuscripts and their captions as a take-away from the event and special exhibition.

“New Jersey played an instrumental role in the American Revolution and the subsequent founding of the nation’s governing ideals. It is only fitting that we showcase and share this unique part of our state’s history in collaboration with Constitution Week,*” noted Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “It will also serve to remind us of our shared civic responsibility to continually uphold the principles outlined in the Constitution as an informed and engaged citizenry.”

An initiative of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Constitution Week designates September 17-23 annually as a period of commemoration and education surrounding the country’s foundational document. The initiative dates over 60 years ago, when a formal resolution was adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into public law on August 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

 


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