1. When and where was the Constitution debated and written?
The U.S. Constitution (and the Declaration of Independence) were both debated and signed inside what is now called Independence Hall and was Pennsylvania’s first State House. Known as “the birthplace of America,” Independence Hall is located on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.
Over one long summer in 1787, in closed sessions behind locked and guarded doors 55 delegates debated and redrafted the Articles of Confederation into a new Constitution.
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2. Who wrote the Constitution?
Gen. George Washington served as president of the Constitutional Convention. Seventy-four delegates were appointed to the convention, of which 55 attended. Rhode Island was the only state to refuse sending delegates.
Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate (81 years old); and Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest (26 years old).
3. Who signed the Constitution?
Of the 55 delegates who attended, 39 signed the Constitution and 3 delegates dissented. Two of America’s most important leaders didn’t sign the Constitution: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They were both abroad on official business in France and Great Britain, respectively.
The Constitution was signed on September 17th, but wasn’t ratified until 1788, contingent upon delegates’ demands that a list of individual rights be added.
4. What is the Bill of Rights?
The first ten amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. Nine of them, the “Shall Nots of Congress,” specifically limit the federal government’s power.
5. How long is the Constitution?
It’s four pages long and the shortest and oldest of all written national constitutions.
6. Where is the original today?
The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
7. How many amendments are there?
There are 27 Amendments to the Constitution. Thirty-three went to states to be ratified– out of more than 11,000 amendments introduced in Congress. Of these, only 27 received the necessary approval of three-fourths of the states (38) to officially become amendments to the Constitution.
As America’s first president, George Washington issued a proclamation on Oct. 3, 1789, making the fourth Thursday of November as a day for “offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations.”
Thanksgiving, November 26th, was to Washington an important national holiday for all citizens to thank God for their new government. He declared:
“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”