Constitution of the United States

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the fundamental or organic law of the U.S., framed in 1787 by the Constitutional Convention. It went into effect March 4, 1789.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is the Constitution of the United States?

The Constitution of the United States is a document that serves as the fundamental law of the country. It established how the federal and state governments should be organized, and it guarantees a number of basic rights and liberties to American citizens.

A constitution is a document that explains how a nation, state, corporation, or similar and its people are to be governed. Americans often refer to the constitution of their country as “the Constitution.”

In general, the Constitution states how the government should be organized and what guaranteed and undeniable (unalienable) rights American citizens have. The Constitution has been amended only 27 times in over 200 years.

Here is a summary of what the original version of the Constitution contained:

  • Articles I, II, and III establish the three branches of government. They create the houses of Congress, the office of the president, and the Supreme Court and stated what their specific powers were.
  • Article IV guarantees citizens’ federal rights, no matter what state they live in, explains the rules of creating new states, and guarantees that the federal government will protect every state in the country.
  • Article V creates the process for amending the Constitution.
  • Article VI mandates that the Constitution is the supreme law of the country.
  • Article VII states that the Constitution becomes official after being ratified by nine states (of the 13 that existed at the time).

Americans often regard the Constitution as the most important document ever written in their country’s history. It serves as the highest law of the country, and no law, regulation, or policy can violate anything written in it. Today, the original Constitution is kept in the National Archives Museum with the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Why is Constitution of the United States important?

The Constitution of the United States was written in 1787 and ratified in 1788. The government officially started operating according to the Constitution on March 4, 1789.

In May 1787, the states called a convention to fix the flaws with the Articles of Confederation, a constitution adopted in 1781. The states thought that this former constitution did not adequately establish the powers of the federal and state governments or establish the rights of American citizens.

Led by George Washington, the Constitutional Convention included many of the Founding Fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison. As they often did, these men debated at length about the text of the Constitution. The convention finally reached a compromise and signed the final draft in September 1787 and released it to the states to ratify it. In July 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to approve it, and the Constitution was officially put into law two months later.

As part of the long, tiring process, it was agreed that the Bill of Rights would be added to the document as soon as possible after its adoption.

Did you know ... ?

A significant number of the members of the Constitutional Convention wanted slavery abolished in the Constitution, but the idea was rejected out of fear that the document wouldn’t be adopted due to opposition from the southern states. At the time, abolitionist Samuel Hopkins of Connecticut (who attended the convention) argued that it was hypocritical to found a “free” country built on slavery.

What are real-life examples of Constitution of the United States?

This image shows the first page of the Constitution. The document itself is kept in the National Archives Museum.


Even today, the Constitution is revered by Americans.


​What other words are related to Constitution of the United States​?

Quiz yourself!

True or False?

A law can ignore the Constitution if Congress allows it.

How to use Constitution of the United States in a sentence