Teaching the Constitution to kids requires some simplifications.
Teaching the Constitution to kids requires some simplifications.

The U.S. Constitution is what shapes the politics of the United States, and has done so since its creation. It is the foundation on which today’s government is based on, and major decisions affecting the country are made with the Constitution in mind. While it may be a difficult document to read, it is important for young learners to understand the basic facts and history behind it.

General

The U.S. Constitution is the highest law there is in the United States. While each state has its own constitution, the U.S. Constitution reigns supreme. The Constitution governs the government, Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidency.

History

The U.S. Constitution is over 200 years old; it was written in 1787. The original copies are archived in Washington D.C. In 1787, a group of men met to discuss a new way of running the new country, after undergoing problems with the current governing powers in England. Over a period of many months, men from all of the 13 states talked, debated and compromised on matters concerning how the country should be run. Eventually the men agreed or compromised on all matters and the Constitution was ratified (approved). Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were among the group of men referred to as the Framers.

Changes

It is possible for the Constitution to be changed. This is called an amendment to the Constitution. There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution as of 2006. The first 10 of those amendments are called the Bill of Rights. Most amendments relate to the rights of the people. For example, the end of slavery was brought about by the 13th amendment and the 15th amendment gave black people the right to vote.

Other Interesting Facts

The Constitution has a total of 4,400 words and is the shortest written Constitution of any government in the world.

Thomas Jefferson was not among the men who signed the Constitution; he was in France at the time.

Jacob Shallus, a general assembly clerk of Pennsylvania, was responsible for recording the Constitution and was paid $30 for the service. Today, that would be about $700.

September 17th is Constitution Day, marking the day it was signed in 1787.

A lack of a bill of rights in the initial Constitution was what caused most disagreement among the men.

There was a Committee of Style formed in September 1787 to help with the wording of the Constitution.

Benjamin Franklin was the oldest person to sign the Constitution. He was 81 years old.