Resources for Constitution Day

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” – The Preamble to the United States Constitution


In December 2004, the United States Senate and House of Representatives passed an amendment proposed by Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, requiring all educational institutions that receive federal funds to make available educational programs that relate to the U.S. Constitution on September 17 of each year.

On the celebration of the 225 years of the signing of the Constitution, we are glad to present this web resource with links and information pertaining to the Constitution of the United States, and the relationship between the political and the religious in U.S. history.

Remembering the Historic March on Washington - August 28, 1963

March on Washington (King)Congressman John Lewis is a civil rights icon and influential American leader. Here, he reflects on the anniversary of the March on Washington.

 Lewis was one of the "Big Six" leaders in the American Civil Rights Movement and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), playing a key role in the struggle to end legalized racial discrimination and segregation.  A member of the Democratic Party, Lewis is a member of the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives and has served in the Whip organization since shortly after his first election to the U.S. Congress. He is Senior Chief Deputy Whip, leading an organization of chief deputy whips and serves as the primary assistant to the Democratic Whip.  He has held this position since 1991.

Past Lecturers

thumb2taylorMark Lewis Taylor is Princeton Seminary’s Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture. He earned his M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. A minister in the Presbyterian Church, he frequently teaches and lectures in churches and supports church communities in their efforts to organize on justice and peace issues. Prof. Taylor's lecture on The Constitution and Manifest Destiny is available here.

thumb2parisPeter Paris is Princeton Theological Seminary’s Elmer G. Homrighausen Professor of Christian Social Ethics Emeritus. An ordained Baptist minister, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His particular interests include Aristotle’s ethics and politics, and the theology and ethics of Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr. Prof. Paris's lecture on The Church's Prophetic Function to Discern and Condemn False Prophets while Supporting Good Politics is available here.

Additional Resources

Below is a bibliography of books relating to the history of the U.S. Constitution, as well as church and state issues. This bibliography has been prepared by Princeton Seminary Ph.D. graduate Larry Stratton, a former adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center. 
Amar, Ahkil Reed. America’s Constitution: A Biography (Random House, 2006)
Feldman, Noah. Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem—and What We Should Do about It (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005)
Hamilton, Marci. God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
Kramnick, Isaac and Moore, R. Laurence. The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State (W.W. Norton, 2005)
Levy, Leonard. The Establishment Clause: Religion and the First Amendment (University of North Carolina Press, 1994)
McGarvie, Mark Douglas. One Nation Under Law: America’s Early National Struggles to Separate Church and State (Northern Illinois University Press, 2004)
Meacham, Jon. American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation (Random House, 2006)
Noonan, John T. Jr. The Lustre of Our Country: The American Experience of Religious Freedom (University of California Press, 1998)
Witte, John Jr. Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment, second edition (Westview, 2005)

Web Resources