Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Support Services
Founding fathers signing the constitution of the United States
Constitution Day

Constitution Day, 2013

Turmoil around the world during the past year provides a time to reflect on the meaning of the U.S. Constitution to American civic life.  In 2012, the nation repeated the every four year process of selecting the country’s executive leader, the President.  Thousands of elections were held to select political leadership ranging from city aldermen to governors to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.  From those campaigns, policies were proposed, the ethics of the candidates were examined, and the competing values of a diverse and dynamic nation were expressed and explored.  At the end, the public made its decisions, from towns and cities up to the nation as a whole.  And then the selected officials empowered and constrained by the U.S. Constitution went to work forging and implementing policies expressed in the election process.

R. Brad MartinWe fuss and complain about the rough and tumble of election politics.  And the debate and struggle over values and policies doesn’t end with an election.  They continue throughout the legislative, administrative, and judicial processes that involve governance.  But all of those processes, the election of leaders and how they are to behave after selection are guided by this document, the U.S. Constitution. 

It is quite easy for citizens of the United States to take this document for granted, a governing structure that allows a nation to change its leadership, select policy directions, and continue to provide the right for all to press their ideas without the need for or fear of public violence.  As we look around the world, violence was core to regime change in Africa.  Violence remains the method of regime change in the Middle East.  And violence and suppression remain the means of governance for a major portion of the world’s population.

The U.S. Constitution was an experiment started 225 years ago.  A look at our nation over the past year shows that its aim to guarantee rights to individuals, establish the responsibilities of government, and assure free and periodic elections, while radical at the time of its adoption, is still working.  As we look at the world during that year, it is right that we take time out to appreciate again the success of that experiment.

R. Brad Martin
Interim President
University of Memphis



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Observances of
Constitution Day, 2013 at the
University of Memphis

“So You Think You Know the Constitution”

Tuesday, September 17
Mitchell Hall lobby, 10:00 am-2:00 pm
Take a quiz, stump a scholar, win prizes Featuring Ann Mulhearn, PhD in History and Constitution Buff Co-sponsored by the Graduate History Association

Federalist Society Presents "A Constitution Day Celebration"

The Memphis Lawyers Chapter and the University of Memphis Law Student Chapter of the Federalist Society will host Dr. Charles R. Kessler, Professor of Government/Political Science at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University on Thursday, September 19 from 11:30 AM to 1:15 PM. Dr. Kessler will speak on "The Framer's View on the Role of the Federal Government". Food and Drinks will be served.

Government Publications Display

Ned R. McWherter Library Rotunda
September 17 – October 1, 2013

“What Would the Founding Fathers Think?”

Scott P. Marler
Associate Professor, History
(Click here to read article)

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Last Updated: 7/22/14