September 17, 2008

We the People

Posted by at 7:30 am in News | Permalink

Sn_constitution_bill_fixed Did you know that today is Constitution Day?  Two hundred and twenty-one years ago to this very day, the founders of the United States had just finished up the very first Constitutional Convention, an almost four-month-long brainstorm.  Can you imagine being assigned a project that takes you almost four months to complete?!  Now imagine that you had to work on this project with over 50 other people!

On this day in 1787, the 56 representatives from all 13 colonies signed the Constitution, setting the foundation for the democratic government we have today.  The Constitution, in a nutshell, lays the blueprints for how the government should be structured.  There are three branches, with each branch assigned different responsibilities, and each branch not having too much power on its own—a system called “checks and balances.”

If you’ve been watching the news, you know that the most talked-about branch is the executive branch, the one with the President, Vice President, and all of the Cabinet members.  The second branch is the Legislative branch, which has the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The final branch is the Judicial branch.  The head of the Judicial branch is the U. S. Supreme Court, and is supported by a huge network of lower courts — including the courthouse in your town!. 

The Constitution is a living and growing piece of history.  There have been 27 amendments since the signing of the Constitution in 1787.  It goes to show that even the founders weren’t able to predict everything that was going to happen in the future — but they were smart enough to know that things might change someday! 

The Constitution is the solid foundation on which the United States of America stands tall.  If you want to learn more about the Constitution, check out this special report from Scholastic News or visit the National Archives website.

— Nick, STACKS Staffer

Image: The first page of the U.S. Constitution (Photo courtesy National Archives)