September 17, 2015
The Constitution of the United States of America!
September 17th is the day that we celebrate the the signing of United States Constitution! In honor of constitution day, take a look at these facts* that prove what a unique and amazing document it is!
What is the Constitution?
The U.S. Constitution is the fundamental framework of America’s system of government.
- Creates a government that puts the power in the hands of the people
- Separates the powers of government into three branches: the legislative branch, which makes the laws; the executive branch, which executes the laws; and the judicial branch, which interprets the laws
- Sets up a system of checks and balances that ensures no one branch has too much power
- Divides power between the states and the federal government
- Describes the purposes and duties of the government
- Defines the scope and limit of government power
- Prescribes the system for electing representatives
- Establishes the process for the document’s ratification and amendment
- Outlines many rights and freedoms of the people
- The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787
- The U.S. Constitution has 4,400 words, and is the oldest and shortest written constitution of any national government in the world.
- Over 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress, but only 33 have gone to the states to be ratified, and 27 have actually become amendments to the Constitution.
- Since 1952, the Constitution has been on display in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. 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.
- The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81). The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).
- Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face.
- When the Constitution was signed, the United States’ population was 4 million. It is now more than 321 million.
- George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution.
- James Madison was the only delegate to attend every meeting. He took detailed notes of the various discussions and debates that took place during the convention. The journal that he kept during the Constitutional Convention was kept secret until after he died. It (along with other papers) was purchased by the government in 1837 at a price of $30,000 (that would be $654,000 today). The journal was published in 1840.
- The Constitution contains 4,543 words, including the signatures and has four sheets, 28-3/4 inches by 23-5/8 inches each. It contains 7,591 words including the 27 amendments.
- The only other language used in various parts of the Constitution is Latin.