What is the United States Constitution?
The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America and lays out the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States. The Constitution was drafted in fewer than one hundred working days.
- The U.S. Constitution has 4,400 words. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world.
- Of the spelling errors in the Constitution, “Pensylvania” above the signers’ names is probably the most glaring.
- Since 1952, the Constitution has been on display in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. Currently, all four pages are displayed behind protective glass framed with titanium. To preserve the parchment’s quality, the cases contain argon gas and are kept at 67 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 40 percent.
- Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face.
- The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81). The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).
- The first time the formal term “The United States of America” was used was in the Declaration of Independence.
- As Benjamin Franklin left the Pennsylvania State House after the final meeting of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, he was approached by the wife of the mayor of Philadelphia. She was curious as to what the new government would be. Franklin replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it”.
- The word “democracy” does not appear once in the Constitution.
- From 1804 to 1865 there were no amendments added to the Constitution until the end of the Civil War when the Thirteenth amendment was added that abolished slavery. This was the longest period in American history in which there were no changes.
- As evidence of its continued flexibility, the Constitution has been changed seventeen times since 1791.
- George Washington and James Madison were the only U.S. Presidents who signed the Constitution.
- The U.S. Constitution is also known as the “Bundle of Compromise”
- The only other language used in various parts of the Constitution is Latin.
- The term “others” is used in the Constitution to categorize ethnic minorities.
- Four of the signers of the Constitution were born in Ireland.
Additional Resources Concerning The United States Constitution, Elections and Voting
Download your own personal Pocket Constitution App for your iPhone from the National Constitution Center.