Commission on the Bicentennial
United States Constitution, 1985-1991
The Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution was established in 1983 "to plan and develop activities appropriate to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, the formation of the three branches of government, and the Bill of Rights." The Chief Justice, its chairman since 1985, saw the Bicentennial Commission as a chance for a civic history lesson that could reach all Americans, and especially the younger generation. Under his guidance, the commission initiated, sponsored and endorsed a large variety of scholarly and educational programs all over the country. These included, among others, history teaching projects from elementary to college level; essay and map contests; videotaped interviews with former presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan; the publication and distribution of books and pamphlets; and, of course, festivities and parades. After the Bicentennial Commission officially expired at the end of 1991, Warren E. Burger created the 'Trust for the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution' to continue this mission.