Cameron University’s annual Constitution Day celebration to examine mass media

Cameron University’s annual celebration of Constitution Day, commemorating the 1787 signing of the Constitution of the United States of America, will focus on mass media, social media and the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of the press and free speech. Cameron’s Constitution Day celebration takes place on Monday, Sept. 19 in the CETES Conference Center from 2-4 p.m. and is open to the public at no charge. Copies of the U.S. Constitution will be distributed.

Guest speakers for the event and their topics are:

  • "Is Ignorance Governing Knowledge About the American Constitution?:  The Failings of American Mass Media" – Dr. Rick Tepker, Floyd & Irma Calvert Chair in Law and Liberty, Professor of Law and Associate Dean, University of Oklahoma Law School
  • "When Everyone is a Publisher: Free Speech and the Marketplace of Ideas in the Digital Age" – Dr. Peter Gade, Gaylord Family Endowed Professor, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma
  • “Do Androids Dream of Electric (Facebook Friends)?: Social Media, Literacy and the First Amendment” - Dr. Christopher O. Keller, Associate Professor of Journalism, Cameron University

Following the presentations, Dr. Tony Wohlers, Associate Professor of History and Government at Cameron, will moderate a question and answer period.

The event is sponsored by the CU School of Liberal Arts, the Department of History and Government, and the Lawton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This celebration of Constitution Day also serves as the first meeting of the academic year of the Cameron University Political Science Forum.

Constitution Day commemorates September 17, 1787, a key point in U.S. history, when the 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document that defined and separated powers of the federal government. Voting, debating the issues, gathering to meet in public and in private, criticizing or praising your government, observing a religion of choice and pursuing an education and a career are just a few of the pursuits guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

For more information on this event, contact Jeffrey Metzger, Assistant Professor of Political Science, at 580-581-2494 or jmetzger@cameron.edu.

For more information about Constitution Day, go to www.constitutioncenter.org.

Fast Facts about the U.S. Constitution

  • The U. S Constitution was written in the same Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington received his commission as Commander of the Continental Army. Now called Independence Hall, the building still stands today on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, directly across from the National Constitution Center.
  • Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed on September 17; it wasn't until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states.
  • The U.S. Constitution was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries.
  • Some of the original framers and many delegates in the state ratifying conventions were troubled that the original Constitution lacked a description of individual rights. In 1791, Americans added a list of rights to the Constitution. The first 10 amendments became known as The Bill of Rights
  • Of the 55 delegates attending the Constitutional Convention, 39 signed and three delegates dissented. Two of America's "founding fathers" didn't sign the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was representing his country in France, and John Adams was doing the same in Great Britain.
  • Established on November 26, 1789, the first national "Thanksgiving Day" was originally created by George Washington as a way of "giving thanks" for the Constitution.
  • Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.
  • At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention, and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest.
  • The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping.
  • Of the more than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress, only 33 have gone to the states to be ratified. Of these, 27 have received the necessary approval from the states to become amendments to the Constitution.

Source: National Constitution Center

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September 10, 2011

PR# 11-160