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We have curated some fun additions for your National Constitution & Citizenship Day!
The United States Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, an event that is commemorated each year as Constitution and Citizenship Day. Americans are reminded of the opportunities provided to them as citizens, and the responsibilities of citizens participating in a democracy. This is a terrific opportunity to discuss civics and citizenship with your residents while recognizing the living document that governs the nation and hopefully jogging memories and stories to share. Here are some ways to commemorate this day with your community.
Activities you can do in a group:
- Hold a discussion on what citizenship means — including rights and responsibilities of citizens.
- Discuss the constitution and how it is relevant now – how it should be changed to include the more modern world. What is it missing around modern inventions such as the internet?
- Take the 20 question quiz on civics (only a sampling) that is given to those seeking naturalization here in the U.S. – you can also use this as a group trivia!
- Have folks define what makes a good citizen and have them share personal stories about when they exhibited citizenship. For example:
- I helped clean up the park/a beach/river, etc.
- I worked to get people to register to vote or worked at the polls.
- I walked away from a fight.
- I wait for the signal to cross the street and I stay in the cross walk.
YouTube Videos to Watch
- The Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism: Crash Course US History
- United States Constitution · Amendments · Bill of Rights · Complete Text + Audio
- Constitution 101 | Lecture 1 – Hillsdale College
- The Original Intent of the Constitution | Myths of American History
- US Citizenship Interview Experience | How I Became a US Citizen? First person experience from Desi American Professor
And there are SO many movies to watch!
Movies that celebrate those 4,400 words that make up the oldest – and shortest – written Constitution of any major government. Our supreme law of the land has a long cinematic history. So, we have decided to focus on the amendments we think you’ll enjoy.
The creation of the Constitution
- Hamilton (2020) – live action musical PG-13
The First Amendment protects five core American liberties – religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly.
- The Post (2017) PG-13
- Selma (2014) PG-13
- Citizen Kane (1941) PG
- All the President’s Men (1976) PG
The Second Amendment references both the collective right of a militia and an individual right to bear arms.
- Tank (1984) PG
- Dirty Harry (1971) R
- Death Wish (1974) R
The Third Amendment restricts the quartering of soldiers in private homes without their consent and forbids it in peacetime.
- The Patriot (2000) R
- Training Day (2001) R
- Cops and Robbersons (1990) PG
The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments protect Americans’ privacy against unreasonable searches and seizures.
- Minority Report (2002) PG-13 Fourth Amendment
- The Client (1994) PG-13 Fifth Amendment
- 12 Angry Men (1957) Approved Sixth Amendment
- Philadelphia (1993) PG-13 Seventh Amendment
- The Conversation (1974) PG
- The Truman Show (1998) PG
- Gattaca (1997) PG-13
- Runaway Jury (2003) PG-13
- Erin Brockovich (2000) R
The Eighth Amendment protects us against excessive bail or fines and, importantly, against cruel and unusual punishments.
- 12 Monkeys (1995) R
- Dead Man Walking (1995) R
- Sleepers (1996) R
The Ninth and Tenth Amendments say that the other bill of rights can’t deny or disparage other rights and that powers not designated by the constitution are reserved to the states or the people.
- Enemy of the State (1998) R Ninth Amendment
- The Free State of Jones (2016) R Tenth Amendment
- C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America (2004) PG-13
- Milk (2008) R
The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments extend civil and legal protections to formerly enslaved people.
- 13th (2016) TV-MA Thirteenth Amendment
- On The Basis of Sex (2018) PG-13 Fourteenth Amendment
- And All The Way (2016)TV-14 Fifteenth Amendment
- Lincoln (2012) PG-13
- Mississippi Burning (1988) R
- Loving (2016) PG-13
The Seventeenth Amendment made U.S. senators elected by the people instead of appointed by the state.
- Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) Approved
- Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (2005) PG-13
- The Distinguished Gentleman (1992) TV
The Eighteenth Amendment banned booze in the US.
- The Untouchables (1987) R
- Little Caesar (1931) Not Rated
- Once Upon a Time in America (1984) R
- Miller’s Crossing (1990) R
The Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote.
- Iron-Jawed Angels (2004) TV-Movie
- Black Sorority Project (2013)
The 25th Amendment provides for the vice president to assume the office of “acting president” if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet determine that “the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
- Olympus Has Fallen (2013) R
- White House Down (2013) PG-13
- Air Force One (1997) R
The 26th Amendment set the voting age to 18.
- The Candidate (1972) PG
- Wild in the Streets (1968) R