U.S. Constitution

Important Dates

May 25, 1787: The Constitutional Convention opens with a quorum of seven states in Philadelphia to discuss revising the Articles of Confederation. Eventually all states but Rhode Island are represented.

Sept. 17, 1787: All 12 state delegations approve the Constitution, 39 delegates sign it of the 42 present, and the Convention formally adjourns.

June 21, 1788: The Constitution becomes effective for the ratifying states when New Hampshire is the ninth state to ratify it.

March 4, 1789: The first Congress under the Constitution convenes in New York City.

April 30, 1789: George Washington is inaugurated as the first President of the United States.

June 8, 1789: James Madison introduces proposed Bill of Rights in the House of Representatives.

Sept. 24, 1789: Congress establishes a Supreme Court, 13 district courts, three ad hoc circuit courts, and the position of Attorney General.

Sept. 25, 1789: Congress approves 12 amendments and sends them to the states for ratification.

Feb. 2, 1790: Supreme Court convenes for the first time after an unsuccessful attempt February 1.

Dec. 15, 1791: Virginia ratifies the Bill of Rights, and 10 of the 12 proposed amendments become part of the U.S. Constitution.

United States Constitution

Preamble

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.


Inside U.S. Constitution