Richard Nixon photo

Proclamation 4145—Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, 1972

August 03, 1972

By the President of the United States Of America

A Proclamation

One hundred and eighty-five years ago a group of determined and purposeful men assembled in Philadelphia and signed the Constitution of the United States. They gave form to our ideals of self-government, and laid the foundation for a community of free people in which the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness could flourish.

The world has changed greatly since then. But their work has endured, as a source of strength to America and of inspiration to the world. As a representative democracy, the United States has prospered beyond man's wildest dreams and has become a shining symbol of freedom for men and women everywhere. Within the framework of this fundamental law, our people enjoy the rights, the freedoms and the exercise of responsibilities to which people everywhere aspire.

The Constitution of the United States is no mere impersonal doctrine. It is an instrument of our people. Its vitality and meaning depend upon the purpose and the energy of all of our citizens.

President Grover Cleveland said: "I indulge in no mere figure of speech when I say that our nation . . . lives in us—in our hearts and minds and consciences. There it must find its nutriment or die. This thought more than any other presents to our minds the impressiveness and responsibility of American citizenship. The land we live in seems to be strong and active. But how fares the land that lives in us?" Today it is the land that lives in us which will determine the course of this Nation.

On February 29, 1952, the Congress approved a joint resolution (66 Stat. 9) setting aside the seventeenth day of September of each year as Citizenship Day in commemoration of the signing of the Constitution of the United States on September 17, 1787, and in recognition of all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, had attained citizenship during the year. On August 2, 1956, the Congress approved a second joint resolution (70 Stat. 932), requesting the President to designate the week beginning September 17 of each year as Constitution Week.

Now, Therefore, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, direct the appropriate Government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on Citizenship Day, September 17, 1972. I urge Federal, State, and local officials, as well as all religious, civic, educational, and other interested organizations to make arrangements for impressive, meaningful pageants and observances on that day to inspire all our citizens to rededicate themselves to the services of their country and to the support and defense of the Constitution.

I also designate the period beginning September 17 and ending September 23, 1972, as Constitution Week; and I urge the people of the United States to observe that week with appropriate ceremonies and activities in their schools and churches, and in other suitable places, to the end that our citizens, whether they be naturalized or natural-born, may have a better understanding of the Constitution and of the rights and responsibilities of United States citizenship.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-two and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-seventh.

Signature of Richard Nixon


Richard Nixon, Proclamation 4145—Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, 1972 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives