New Citizens Take Oath Coast to Coast

This year, as part of the U.S. courts’ annual, national initiative, federal judges swore in thousands of new citizens at more than 40 ceremonies throughout the country, including at many national historic places and national parks. The locations were chosen to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and to mark Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, which each September commemorates the signing of the Constitution in 1787 and the rights and privileges of American citizenship. The video above features highlights from naturalization ceremonies at iconic sites from Ellis Island in New York to Yosemite National Park in California, captured on video by the staff of participating federal courts across the country. The events were a joint effort by the courts, the park service, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Civics Renewal Network.

#ConstitutionDay2016

Schools across the nation participated in the 2016 Preamble Challenge on Constitution Day. Students pledged to recite the Preamble to the US Constitution in creative ways. Here are some of our favorites.

2016 Naturalization Ceremonies

Students will participate in real-life civics lessons at naturalization ceremonies scheduled at National Park Service sites and other iconic places from Ellis Island to Pearl Harbor in celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day on Friday, September 16, 2016.

This year, as part of the federal courts’ annual, national initiative, federal judges will swear in new citizens at courthouses, cultural landmarks, national parks, and historic places as part of the Park Service’s 100th anniversary year observance.

September 17 is the official anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in 1787, but naturalization ceremonies are scheduled almost every day the week before that date. This year, during the third week of September, federal judges will administer the Oath of Allegiance at such national treasures as the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, D.C.; Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park, in Appomattox, Va.; the Great Smoky Mountains, near Knoxville, Tenn.; the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, in West Branch, Iowa; and the Battleship USS Missouri Memorial, in Hawaii.

For more information about student participation in naturalization ceremonies, or schools hosting ceremonies for Constitution Day and Citizenship Day in 2017, contact the national outreach manager for the federal courts, Rebecca Fanning, at rebecca_fanning@ao.uscourts.gov.

Teaching the Reconstruction Amendments

While Reconstruction is arguably the least well known and most misunderstood era in U.S. History, the Reconstruction Amendments are among the most important for understanding our government, politics, and law. The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were intended to profoundly reshape the Constitution so much so that many scholars refer to their provisions as part of the “Second Founding.”

For the sesquicentennial of the Reconstruction era, we offer the best online resources for teaching the origins of these amendments, their evolving interpretation by the courts, and the continuing controversies they give rise to, within the overall constitutional system.Below is a sample of the rich and varied collection of free digital materials available to AP U.S. History and Government teachers from the Civics Renewal Network.

Free Constitution Course Available On Demand

Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases explores the Constitution’s origins and its changes over the years, from the initial burst of amendments that brought us the Bill of Rights, through the bloody disruption of the Civil War and into the 20th and 21st centuries.

CRN Presentation at the MSCSS Conference

Thank you to the teachers and students who attended the Civics Renewal Network’s session at the Middle States Council for the Social Studies Conference in Annapolis, Md. on Feb. 26-27.

Using the Civics Renewal Network Website

Welcome! This video shows how to navigate the Civics Renewal Network website and search for resources and explains the easy process of creating an account so you can bookmark resources.

#ConstitutionDay2015

Schools across the nation participated in the 2015 Preamble Challenge on Constitution Day. Students pledged to recite the Preamble to the US Constitution in creative ways. Here are some of our favorites.

#ConstitutionDay2014

Nearly 900 schools across the nation participated in 2014’s Preamble Challenge on Constitution Day, led by the National Constitution Center. Students who participated in the Civics Renewal Network’s Constitution Day program in Washington, D.C., recited the Preamble at the U.S. Capitol.

Stewarding America: Institutions and Civic Life

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences organized this discussion on the current state of American civic life as part of the Civics Renewal Network’s efforts to raise awareness of the importance of civics education on Constitution Day, September 17, 2014. The panelists are Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research; Stephen Heintz, Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Honorable Patricia Wald, former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit; Joel Klein, News Corps, formerly, New York City Department of Education; former Rep. Mickey Edwards, Aspen Institute.