Did You Know?
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.

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Overview
History of the Constitution

On September 17, 1787, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting. Only one item of business occupied the agenda that day, to sign the Constitution of the United States of America.

Since May 14, 1787 the 55 delegates had gathered almost daily in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation. By the middle of June, it became apparent to the delegates that to merely amend the Articles of Confederation would not be sufficient. Instead, they would write an entirely new document designed to clearly define and separate the powers of the central government, the powers of the states, the rights of the people and how the representatives of the people should be elected.

After being signed in September of 1787, Congress sent printed copies of the Constitution to the state legislatures for ratification. In the months that followed, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay would write the Federalist Papers in support, while Patrick Henry, Elbridge Gerry, and George Mason would organize the opposition to the new Constitution. By June 21, 1788, nine states had approved the Constitution, finally forming "a more perfect Union."

No matter how much we argue about the details of its meaning today, in the opinion of many, the Constitution signed in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 represents the greatest expression of statesmanship and compromise ever written. In just four hand-written pages, the Constitution gives us no less than the owners' manual to the greatest form of government the world has ever known.


What is the Constitution

The Constitution of the United States, written in 1787 and ratified in 1789, was the first important written constitution, and a model for a vast number of subsequent constitutional documents. It is the oldest written national constitution still in force, today.

The U.S. Constitution is considered the "supreme law of the land," which is interpreted to mean that when other laws (either Federal or State) conflict with the Constitution, these laws are nullified.


Bibliography

See E. McWhinney, Constitution-Making (1981); V. Bhagwan and V. Bhushan, World Constitutions (2d ed. 1987); P. Bobbitt, Constitutional Interpretation (1991); J. W. Peltason, Understanding the Constitution (12th ed. 1991).

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._constitution