In just 52 words, the preamble of the Constitution sets out the purpose of the Constitution for the United States of America, a new nation when the Constitution was written in the late 1780s. The Constitution helped to strengthen continent-wide structures of government and regulate some of the relationships between individual states.
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The Constitution as a whole represented an agreement between the 13 member states on the powers of government and the rights of individual citizens. The preamble provides an introduction to a series of articles laying out how the country would be governed. The Constitution and its preamble went through several drafts before a final version was agreed, and since it became law in 1788 it has been amended many times, although the wording of the preamble has not changed.
- National Endowment for the Humanities: The Preamble to the Constitution
- National Archives: The Charters of Freedom, Constitution of the United States
- Teaching American History: Introduction to the Constitutional Convention
- Library of Congress: American Memory, Documents from the Continental Congress
- National Archives: The Charters of Freedom, Constitution of the United States, Amendments 11-27
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