In the year 1787, our Founding Fathers created a four-page document known as the U.S. Constitution to establish the nation’s government, the laws, and to give citizens basic human rights. It wasn’t until 1788 that it was ratified by the required minimum of nine states. This document is said to be one of the United States’ greatest achievements since it was written over 228 years ago and is a document that we still abide by today.
Here are 10 facts about the U.S. Constitution, that you probably didn’t know:
- It’s not the quantity but the quality that matters – The U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world. Its contains only 4,400 words.
- History starts here – The U.S. Constitution was written and signed at the Philadelphia Convention.
- The last minute change – The most iconic opening “We the people of the United States…” was actually used at the last minute. In earlier drafts, it read “We the people of the states of…” (the individual states were listed from the north to the south).
- Missing Founding Fathers – 2 of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, were unable to attend the Constitutional Convention and did not sign the actual document.
- The “First American” gets teary-eyed – Benjamin Franklin, known as the “first American,” was the oldest American to sign the Constitution at the age of 81. It has been said that he needed help signing, and as he did, there were tears running down his face.
- No Democracy? – The word “democracy” is not in the Constitution at all. Not even once. That is because The United States is actually a republic.
- Spell Check Please – The Constitution contains many spelling mistakes. The biggest being “Pensylvania.” Did you know that it is also misspelled on the Liberty Bell?
- Evolving over time – Since 1791, the Constitution has only been amended 17 times with 27 amendments being made.
- Not part of the original document – Many know of the Bill of Rights but do not know that they are actually not in the original document. They are, in fact, the first 10 amendments which were presented by James Madison in a series of legislative articles.
- Preserving History – The original Constitution is in a display case at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The cases contain argon gas and are kept at 67 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 40 percent to preserve the parchment papers.
These are only a few of the fun facts about the U.S. Constitution. I hope you found them as interesting as I did.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.