Happy 234th birthday to the U.S. Constitution!

September 17 is the day the government of the United States of America, the great experiment, was born with the signing of the U.S. Constitution. This special document turns 234-years-old this year and we thought a great way to celebrate it would be to learn more about it.

Tell us more!

The U.S. Constitution is segmented into seven articles:

  • Article 1: Outlines the Legislative branch and empowers Congress, consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives, with the ability to write and pass laws.
  • Article 2: Outlines the Executive branch and empowers a President and Vice President, serving a four-year term, with the ability to enforce the laws enacted by Congress (powers further modified by 12th and 25th amendments).
  • Article 3: Establishes the Judicial branch with power to be vested in one Supreme Court, the federal court system’s highest court. The First Congress created the federal court system by signing the 1789 Judiciary Act, forming the three-tiered court system in place today.
  • Article 4: Defines the power of states to create and enforce its laws but requires each state to respect and help enforce the laws of other states.
  • Article 5: Details the process of changing the Constitution by amendment.
  • Article 6: Establishes that federal law is greater than all state and local laws.
  • Article 7: Describes the process to ratify the Constitution.

In order to form a more perfect union, the U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times. The first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were certified on December 15, 1791.

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Did you know?

State delegates approved the draft of the Constitution on September 15, 1787, and the signing of the official document was set for September 17, 1787. Jacob Shallus, the assistant clerk for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, worked for two days, copying the draft’s 4,543 words onto parchment in cursive script. The amount he earned for his work: $30.

SOURCE: National Archives

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