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The Constitution of the United States of America, 1787

By: Founding Fathers of the United States

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress (Article I); the executive, consisting of the president and subordinate officers (Article II); and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts (Article III). Article IV, Article V and Article VI embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, and the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article VII establishes the procedure subsequently used by the 13 States to ratify it. It is regarded as the oldest written and codified national constitution in force.

The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. It announced that the thirteen American colonies, who were at war with Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, no longer considered themselves part of the British Empire. They now called themselves a new nation, The United States of America. This famous document went on to become a well-known keystone of the human rights movement.

 

However, the newly formed state had no real identity or philosophy and were merely a loose collection of states that had freed themselves from colonial rule. The Continental Congress was considered to be their governing body and by 1777, this congress decided to bring the colonies together via the articles of confederation. Individual states could come together on a common platform whenever issues that affected all of them arose, but inside each state, there was freedom to conduct affairs independently. In time, the states realized that there was no centralized power which became necessary to maintain unity and uniformity.

 

In 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia led by George Washington established a strong central policy with a federal system for states and the three branches: the judiciary, the executive and the legislative. The delegates to the convention became known as the framers of the constitution.

 

The US Constitution is the work of many combined intellects and sought to include various different viewpoints. They included famous Americans like Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, George Washington, George Mason and many others. The average age at the convention was about 38 – which was appropriate for the founding and the birth of a young nation. After nearly four months of intense debate and discussions, the final document was agreed upon. Since then, there have been nearly 27 amendments to the constitution, the most important being the Bill of Rights.

 

This famous document, which begins, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility....” has become the template for many countries which became independent in later years.

 

It is an interesting and insightful document that records the history, aspirations and hopes of the New World. Benjamin Franklin admitted that it was not perfect, but felt it was necessary to establish a central government. The original document, written on parchment is on display at the National Archives, Washington DC.

 

Modern day readers will indeed find it a fascinating and impressive read.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

English

Published In

1789

Author

The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American leaders who united the Thirteen Colonies, led the war for independence from Great Britai...

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