The United States Constitution was signed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia by a convention of state representatives on September 17, 1787. September 17 is a day set aside by Congress to celebrate the signing and to reflect on the importance of the underlying legal foundation of our nation. Here are some brief facts about the Constitution:
- Independence Hall was not only the location of the Constitutional Convention, but also the location where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
- Fifty-five delegates attended the Constitutional Convention. Thirty-nine signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and three delegates dissented.
- Two of America’s “founding fathers” were not present at the Convention. Thomas Jefferson was ambassador to France and John Adams was ambassador to Great Britain.
- Three-fourths of the states were required to ratify the Constitution. Delaware was the first state to ratify it in December 1787 and New Hampshire was the ninth state in June 1788.
- In 1789, James Madison proposed several amendments or changes to the Constitution in the House of Representatives. These amendments focused on basic freedoms, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms. Ten of these amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were approved by the states.
- More than 11,000 amendments to the Constitution have been attempted. Thirty-three have gone to the states to be ratified and 27 have received the required state votes to become amendments.
- Of the written constitutions existing in nations around the world, the US Constitution is the oldest, and also the shortest.
Source: National Constitution Center (ND). The Constitution of the United States: Fast Facts. https://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/historical-documents/constitution-fast-facts
National Endowment of the Arts video about the Constitution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNvspZIaPAA
National Archives video about supporting documents used in the development of the Constitution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFAVKJAOWSc