"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect
Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
common defense, 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." – Preamble
to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1789.
Why a Constitution?
The need came as a result of perceived failures in the Articles of Confederation,
which was the first attempt at an agreement among the original 13 colonies
to create the United States of America.
What does it do?
The primary purpose of the Constitution was to establish a central government
with limited but effective Federal powers to create and enforce laws and
provide protections for all member states. These laws included the establishment
of a President, Congress, and the power of taxation. More importantly,
it guaranteed ten fundamental, indispensable rights to each and every
citizen, to be known as the Bill of Rights.
How old is the Constitution?
The Constitution was adopted by Congress on March 4th, 1789 –
224 years ago!
Why is the Constitution important?
The Constitution lays the foundation for our nation’s laws and legal
system. It establishes Congress as an independent, two-chamber legislative
entity, describes the judicial system, and establishes the executive branch
of the government, which is also known as the Presidency.
Today, the Constitution is an ever-evolving document. Its language and
substance are interpreted by lawyers, legislators, and judges across the
country. Decisions regarding the constitutionality of a new law on the
federal, state, and even local district level are made every day.