March 16, 1987 By the President of the United States
March 16 is the birthday of James Madison, our fourth President. We choose this day to celebrate our freedom of access to information about government because Madison, throughout his life, never ceased to mention the freedoms that help us learn everything we need to know about matters relating to our liberties and all public concerns.
Madison is often called the architect of the Constitution, whose Bicentennial we celebrate this year. He was a leading framer of that charter and was the chief recorder of the Constitutional Convention. He later helped frame the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which spell out guarantees of our rights. He and other Founders knew that only a well-informed and educated citizenry could maintain liberty and that the freedoms of speech, religion, and the press protected by the First Amendment are central to that purpose.
Americans enjoy these freedoms and a free, responsive, and reasonable interaction between members of the public and those in government offices. We have always understood that our freedom of information is compatible with protection of national security and rights of privacy. As we celebrate free access to information as part of our heritage, let us honor the memory of President Madison for the wisdom and the devotion to the liberty of the American people that were his credo and his way of life.
The Congress, by Public Law 99 - 539, has designated March 16, 1987, as ``Freedom of Information Day'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 16, 1987, as Freedom of Information Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:24 p.m., March 16, 1987]