The Constitution of the united states of america

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The Preamble

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e the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

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From the Blog

Oct 23
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Constitution Check: Will a brief 1972 ruling stop the same-sex marriage movement?

Lyle Denniston looks at a 1972 one-sentence Supreme Court decision that might be the basis for the Court to step in to decide the same-sex marriage issue.

Featured Issue

Sep 11
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Our brand-new episode, “Constitution Day 2013: The Legislative Branch,” provides a behind-the-scenes look at how laws are made in the United States and features a special introduction by Congressman John Lewis.

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Oct 23
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1st Amendment:

Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petition

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Where is the Constitution?

The National Constitution Center owns a rare, original copy of the first public printing of the Constitution. The Constitutional Convention was conducted under an oath of secrecy, so this printing represents the first time that “We the People” saw the Constitution. The original signed, handwritten Constitution is at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Download the U.S. Constitution

Download and view the text and high-resolution images of the Constitution and other historical documents.

Fast Facts

  • The U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest written constitution of any national government in the world.

  • There are 4,543 words in the original, unamended Constitution, including the signatures.

  • More than 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.

  • The Constitutional Convention began on May 25, 1787, and lasted until the day the finished document was signed on September 17, 1787.

  • The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787. The Center is the best place to celebrate Constitution Day on that date.