We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility , provide for the Common Defence , promote the general Welfare , and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity , do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
1. The Constitution was written in 1787. A group of men, called the Framers, met to write the Constitution. They felt a set of rules were needed to govern the country. Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and James Madison were some of the more well-known framers of the Constitution. The Framers (members of Congress) met in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. After much debate and a great deal of hard work they finally agreed to the words in the Constitution. After the Constitution was written the states had to approve it. It took some time for that to happen, but all of the states finally did.
2. The United States Constitution divides the government into its three branches: the Executive Branch (the President), the Legislative Branch (Congress), and the Judicial Branch (Courts). The people elect the President, and the President enforces the laws. The people elect the members of Congress, and Congress makes laws. The members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. The Court decides what the law means when there are questions.
3. The Constitution describes the different powers given to each of these branches of government and talks about how they are supposed to function and work together. The constitution made sure that no single branch of the government could have too much power. This is called a system of "Checks and Balances".
4. The Constitution also outlines the procedures for going to war. It states that the President becomes the commander and chief of the country’s armies in a time of war.
5. When the Constitution was written, the Framers knew that future generations would want to make changes. They wanted to make it possible to change the Constitution without needing to resort to revolution. They wanted to be sure the process wasn't too difficult or too easy. To address this issue, the Framers added an amendment process. An amendment to the Constitution is a change that can add to the Constitution or change an older part of it. An amendment can even overturn a previous amendment, as the 21st did to the 18th. There are a few methods to amend the Constitution, but the most common is to pass an amendment through the Congress, on a two-thirds vote. After that, the amendment goes to the states, and if three-quarters of the states pass the amendment, it is considered a part of the Constitution and has been ratified. There have been 27 amendments to the constitution.
6. The first ten amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. These 10 ammendments guarantee that the citizens of the United States have their rights protected. Here is a list of the Bill of Rights:
Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Speech
Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arm
Amendment 3 - Quartering of Soldier
Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure
Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Taking
Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses
Amendment 7 - Trial by Jury in Civil Case
Amendment 8 - Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Amendment 9 - Construction of Constitution
Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People
7. The actual United State’s Constitution was adopted on September 17th, 1787, in Philadelphia at the National Convention. The father of the Constitution was a man named James Madison.
8. The original Constitution actually had a clause stating that slavery would be abolished in twenty years after its signing. The fact that this issue was not quickly resolved might have led to the civil war.
9. The law is the set of rules that we live by. The Constitution is the highest law. It belongs to the United States. It belongs to all Americans.
10. The first 10 ammendments, the Bill of Rights, were added in 1791. The last amendment was added in 1992. Some of the most famous and important amendments say that all black men can vote. Another says that all women can vote. Another says that the President can only be elected twice. Here is a list of the remaining amendments:
Amendment 11 -
Amendment 12 - Choosing the President, Vice President
Amendment 13 - Slavery Abolished
Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights
Amendment 15 - Right to Vote
Amendment 16 - Status of Income Tax Clarified
Amendment 17 - Senators Elected by Popular Vote
Amendment 18 - Alcohol Abolished
Amendment 19 - Women's Suffrage
Amendment 20 - Presidential, Congressional Terms
Amendment 21 - Amendment 18 Repealed
Amendment 22 - Presidential Term Limits
Amendment 23 - Presidential Vote for District of Columbia
Amendment 24 - Poll Taxes Barred
Amendment 25 - Presidential Disability and Succession
Amendment 26 - Voting Age Set to 18 Years
Amendment 27 - Limiting Changes to Congressional Pay