10 Facts About the Constitution

The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. It was adopted at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and afterwards ratified by conventions in each state of the United States.

The Constitution, which includes a preamble and seven articles that express the essential ideas of the federal government, specifies the national framework of government.

It creates three branches of government: the legislative branch (represented by the United States Congress), the executive branch (represented by the President), and the judicial branch (represented by the Supreme Court and other federal courts). It also describes each branch’s powers, as well as American people’ rights and liberties.

The Constitution also incorporates a system of checks and balances to prevent any one branch from gaining undue authority, as well as a method for altering the document.

It is regarded as one of the most important texts in world history and is frequently cited as a model for other countries’ constitutions. The Constitution is still in existence today, having been revised 27 times, with the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights.

US Constitution Facts

1. The Constitution of the United States was Written in 1787 and Became Effective on March 4, 1789

The United States Constitution was drafted in 1787 by delegates from 12 of the 13 founding states who assembled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to modify the Articles of Confederation, the country’s first constitution.

The Congress of the Confederation summoned the convention at the request of many states to resolve issues with the Articles of Confederation, which had been judged to be insufficient for the nation’s needs. The conference was convened behind closed doors, and the delegates were not permitted to draft a new constitution, but they did so anyway.

Also Read: Articles of Confederation vs Constitution

From May to September 1787, the Constitution was drafted over the period of four months. On September 17, 1787, 39 of the 55 delegates present signed the final document. The Constitution was subsequently brought to the Confederation Congress for ratification by the states.

After being ratified by the required number of states, the Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789. For it to be effective, nine states have to ratify it.

On June 21, 1788, the necessary number of states ratified the Constitution, which was later ratified by the other states. The Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789, when the first Congress of the United States convened in New York City under the Constitution.

The Constitution provided the foundation for the United States’ federal government, comprising the three departments of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.

It also establishes the mechanism for revising the Constitution and explains the rights and obligations of the states in respect to the federal government. It is the world’s oldest and shortest written constitution for any significant government, and it is still in operation today.

2. There Were 39 Signatures on the Constitution

55 delegates were appointed to the convention, but not all of them were able to attend, so only 39 of them signed the final document.

The 12 states represented at the convention were:

  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina.

The 13th state, Georgia, did not send any delegates to the convention.

They did not accurately reflect the society of the day. They were mostly rich, white land owners who also owned slaves.

They attempted to develop a document that would balance the interests of the states and the federal government while also protecting citizens’ rights while ignoring indigenous peoples’ rights, enslaved peoples’ rights, and women’s rights.

3. The Constitution Provided the Foundation for the United States’ Federal Government

The Constitution provided the foundation for the United States’ federal government, comprising the three departments of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.

This is known as the “separation of powers” and “checks and balances” system, which divides government power among these three institutions in order to prevent any one branch from becoming overly dominant.

The legislative branch is divided into two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. Congress has the authority to enact legislation and levy taxes.

The executive branch is led by the President, who is in charge of enforcing legislation passed by Congress. The President also has the authority to veto legislation passed by Congress and to enter into treaties with foreign countries.

The Supreme Court and other federal courts comprise the judicial branch. The judicial branch has the authority to interpret the Constitution and Congress’s statutes, as well as to hear matters regarding federal law.

The judicial branch also possesses judicial review authority, which permits it to rule on the legality of laws and executive actions.

4. It Established a System of checks and Balances

The Constitution establishes a system of checks and balances among the three departments of government.

For example, the President has the authority to veto legislation approved by Congress, but Congress has the authority to override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Supreme Court has judicial review power, which permits it to determine the legality of laws, yet the President and Congress have the power to choose and confirm Supreme Court justices.

This system of checks and balances is meant to keep any one branch of government from becoming too dominant and to keep the government accountable to the people.

5. The Constitution has had 27 Amendments

Since its passage, the United States Constitution has been revised 27 times. Through Article V, which outlines the actions that must be performed in order for an amendment to be added, the Constitution offers a process for amending it.

The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee citizens certain rights and safeguards such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press, the right to carry weapons, the right to a fair trial, and protection against self-incrimination, among other things.

Other amendments, such as the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, were passed after the Civil War, and they ended slavery and granted African Americans citizenship and voting rights.

Also Read: 13th Amendment Facts

The 19th amendment, passed in 1920, gave women the right to vote. The 22nd amendment, ratified in 1951, restricts the President’s tenure to two terms.

6. It Contains a Preamble Plus Seven Articles

The preamble to the Constitution is followed by seven articles that explain the national framework of government. The preamble states the Constitution’s basic aim and the reasons for its establishment.

It declares that the Constitution is being established to form a more perfect Union, to establish Justice, to ensure domestic tranquillity, to provide for the common defense, to promote the general welfare, and to guarantee the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

The Constitution’s seven articles explain the structure and powers of the federal government, as well as the rights and obligations of states and citizens.

Article I establishes the legislative branch, including Congress’s powers and the legislative process.

Article II establishes the executive branch, including the President’s powers and responsibilities.

Article III establishes the judicial branch, including the powers of the federal courts and the federal judiciary’s authority.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause, the Supremacy Clause, and the process for changing the Constitution are all included in Articles IV, V, and VI, which deal with the relationship between the states and the federal government.

Article VII details the ratification procedure and specifies that the Constitution will become effective after nine of the thirteen states have ratified it.

The Constitution, which includes the preamble and seven articles, outlines the structure and powers of the federal government and establishes the framework for the United States’ system of governance. It also serves as a fundamental law of the land, to which all other laws must conform, and it is still in use today.

7. The Oldest and Shortest Written Constitution

The United States Constitution is often regarded as the oldest and shortest written constitution of any significant nation in the world. It was drafted in 1787 and went into force on March 4, 1789.

The Constitution provided the foundation for the United States’ federal government, comprising the three departments of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.

In comparison to other countries, the United States Constitution is comparatively short, with only 4,543 words, including the Preamble and seven articles. This is in contrast to the constitutions of several other countries, which can be rather extensive and complex.

The Indian Constitution, for example, is one of the world’s longest, with 448 articles, 12 schedules, and 98 amendments.

8. Delaware Became the First State to Ratify the Constitution

On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution. This was only three days after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had completed the document. Delaware was followed in ratifying the Constitution by Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, and New York.

Rhode Island was the final state to ratify the Constitution, doing so in May 1790. Rhode Island did not send any representatives to the Constitutional Convention, and its residents were dubious of the new Constitution at first.

The state organized its own ratification convention, and it ratified the Constitution by a razor-thin margin.

The Constitution became effective after nine states ratified it, and the new federal government established by the Constitution began operations on March 4, 1789.

9. A Copy is on Display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The Constitution on exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. is one of numerous copies prepared shortly after the original document was ratified by the states.

The copy on display was penned by Jacob Shallus, a clerk in the Pennsylvania State Assembly at the time. He was compensated $30 for his efforts, and he finished the paperwork in just two days.

It is one of 14 original parchment copies made by then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, who desired a copy of the Constitution for each of the 14 states that existed at the time.

Shallus’ copy is thought to be one of the most accurate and artistically appealing of all the copies made, which is why it is on exhibit in the National Archives.

It’s also worth mentioning that this copy is not the real document signed by the Constitution’s founders in 1787, but rather a fair copy prepared after the Constitution was ratified; the original signed copies are also housed in the National Archives, but are not on public display.

The Constitution on display at the National Archives is stored in a specially built, climate-controlled cabinet and is safeguarded by a variety of security procedures. It is one of the most popular exhibits in the National Archives, with thousands of visitors each year.

10. Only one Constitutional Amendment has been Repealed

Only one Constitutional Amendment has been repealed. The manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic drinks in the United States was forbidden by the 18th Amendment, which was approved in 1919.

This amendment was part of a larger national Prohibition campaign intended at reducing the social ills associated with alcohol drinking. However, the amendment proved useless in achieving its objectives and was widely ignored.

The 21st Amendment, which was enacted in 1933, abolished the 18th Amendment. The 18th Amendment was abolished, and alcohol regulation was returned to the states.

It is worth mentioning that the 21st Amendment is unusual in that it is the only amendment that repeals another amendment to the Constitution.

All subsequent amendments to the Constitution have been added to it rather than repealed. The 21st Amendment is also the only one passed by state ratifying conventions rather than state legislatures.