Proclamation: Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, 2000 (9/17/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                          September 17, 2000


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                              A PROCLAMATION

     In the spring of 1787, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander
Hamilton, James Madison, and other prominent leaders gathered once again in
Philadelphia to offset a looming crisis in the life of our young democracy.
The Articles of Confederation, a blueprint for government that they had
hammered out in the Second Continental Congress in 1777, had proved too
weak and ineffective to achieve a balance of power between the new Federal
Government and the States.  Rising to this fresh challenge, our founders
crafted a new charter of government -- the United States Constitution --
that has proven to be a masterpiece of political philosophy.

     Wise about human nature and wary of unlimited power, the authors of
our Constitution created a government where power resides not with one
person or institution but with three separate and equal branches of
government.  It guarantees for our citizens the right and responsibility to
choose leaders through free elections, giving Americans the means to enact
political change without resorting to violence, insurrection, or
revolution.  And, with its carefully crafted system of checks and balances,
the Bill of Rights, and its process of amendment, the Constitution
maintains an inspired balance between authority and freedom and between the
ideals of unity and individual rights.

     For more than 200 years the Constitution has provided our Nation with
the resilience to survive trying times and the flexibility to correct past
injustices.  At every turning point in our history, the letter and spirit
of the Constitution have enabled us to reaffirm our union and expand the
meaning of liberty.  Its success can be measured by the millions of people
who have left their homelands over the past two centuries to become
American citizens.  Its influence can be measured by the number and vigor
of new democracies springing up across the globe.

     In giving us the Constitution, our founders also gave us a powerful
example of citizenship.  They were deeply involved in governing our Nation
and passionately committed to improving our society.  The rights we
sometimes take for granted today were secured by their courage and by the
blood of patriots during the Revolutionary War.  As we observe Citizenship
Day and Constitution Week, let us remember that with the many gifts
bestowed on us by the Constitution comes the responsibility to be informed
and engaged citizens; to take an active role in the civic life of our
communities and our country; and to uphold the ideals of unity and liberty
that have sustained us since our earliest days as a Nation.

     In commemoration of the signing of the Constitution and in recognition
of the importance of active, responsible citizenship in preserving the
Constitution's blessings for our Nation, the Congress, by joint resolution
of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106), designated September 17 as
"Citizenship Day," and by joint resolution of August 2, 1956 (36 U.S.C.
108), requested that the President proclaim the week beginning September 17
and ending September 23 of each year as "Constitution Week."

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, do hereby proclaim September 17, 2000, as Citizenship Day and
September 17 through September 23, 2000, as Constitution Week.  I call upon
Federal, State, and local officials, as well as leaders of civic,
educational, and religious organizations, to conduct meaningful ceremonies
programs in our schools, houses of worship, and other community
centers to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the
Constitution and the rights and duties of citizenship.  I also call on all
citizens to rededicate themselves to the principles of the Constitution.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of
the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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