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The United States Constitution

The purpose of this guide is to provide information for researching the U.S. Constitution and its amendments.

What is the U.S. Constitution?

Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the U.S. Constitution is a recorded charter of government for the United States of America that was constructed with the chief aim of forming a strong administration that would be powerful enough to act on a national level, while also delineating the constraints of the government to not interfere with people's fundamental rights. However, the U.S. Constitution was not the first constitution of America; instead, it superseded the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution that created a loose confederation of sovereign states and a weak central government. The need for a stronger Federal government soon became apparent and eventually lead to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Since its ratification, the U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times, and has shaped the country's government and civil liberties for over two centuries. Click the image below to be directed to the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) transcript of the U.S. Constitution!

The Preamble

Important Dates to Remember

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