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July 28, 2003
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The Charters of Freedom
The Declaration of Independence The Constitution The Bill of Rights

The Constitution of the United States

The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.

Page 1 of the Constitution

You can read a transcription of the complete text of the Constitution and read biographies of each of the 39 delegates who signed the Constitution.

Images of the Constitution

Click the thumbnails below to view larger versions of the 4 pages of the Constitution.

The Constitution Page 1 The Constitution Page 2 The Constitution Page 3 The Constitution Page 4
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

High-Resolution Images

High-Resolution versions of the Charters of Freedom documents area available on the High-Resolution Images page.

More Pages in this Exhibit

The article "A More Perfect Union" is an in-depth look at the Constitutional Convention and the ratification process.

"Questions and Answers Pertaining to the Constitution" presents dozens of fascinating facts about the Constitution.

Page two of the U.S. Constitution was unveiled in its new encasement on September 15, 2000. Read remarks issued at the ceremony by John W. Carlin, Archivist of the United States, and Dr. Michael Beschloss.

More Charters of Freedom Resources

Founding Fathers
Founding Fathers
Be sure to visit the Founding Fathers Page that offers biographies of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
Constitutional Amendments 11 through 27

Constitutional Amendments 1-10:
The Bill of Rights

Amendments 11-27

Amendments 1-10 constitute what is known as the Bill of Rights. Discover what other changes and additions have been made to the Constitution over the past 200+ years.

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