Constitution of the United States

(1787)

In May of 1787 representatives of twelve of the thirteen states (all but Rhode Island) convened the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to draft a constitution for the union that bound them together. Since the end of the Revolutionary War, the United States had been operating under the Articles of Confederation, but sentiment was growing that the articles were too weak and that the infant nation was in danger of collapsing because it lacked a strong federal government. After weeks of discussion and negotiation, the framers adopted a new constitution on September 17 that opens with the stirring words “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union.” The Constitution of the United States remains a master work in balancing the powers of the executive branch led by the president, the legislative branch, and the judiciary and in balancing the power of the federal government with that of the states. Like any constitution, the U.S. Constitution...

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Constitution of the United States (National Archives and Records Administration)

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