Welcome! If you are on this page, you probably found one of our Constitution Week Rocks. The Susan Woodin Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, has placed these rocks to help you learn more about the United States Constitution.
Constitution Week takes place September 17-23, and commemorates the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America. Our Constitution has 4,440 words and is the oldest and shortest written constitution of any government in the world. John Adams, one of our country’s Founding Fathers, referred to the Constitution as “the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen” and George Washington, our first President, wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette, the French General who had fought for American freedom during the Revolutionary War, that (the Constitution) “appears to me, then, little short of a miracle.”
The Constitution of the United States contains a preamble and seven articles that describe the way the government is structured and how it operates. The first three articles establish the three branches of government and their powers: Legislative (Congress), Executive (office of the President,) and Judicial (Federal court system). A system of checks and balances prevents any one of these separate powers from becoming dominant. Articles four through seven describe the relationship of the states to the Federal Government, establish the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and define the amendment and ratification processes.
The Constitution might never have been ratified if the framers hadn’t promised to add a Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments to the Constitution gave citizens more confidence in the new government and contain many of today’s Americans’ most valued freedoms.
There are 27 Amendments to the Constitution:
1st – Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly Press
2nd – Right to Bear Arms
3rd – Quartering Soldiers
4th – Search and Seizure
5th – Habeas Corpus
6th – Speedy Trial
7th – Trial by Jury
8th – Cruel and Unusual Punishment
9th – All individual rights may not be listed
10th – Powers not given to government belong to the states or individuals
11th – Original Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
12th – Electoral College
13th – Abolished Slavery
14th – Established Citizenship
15th – Gave all Males the Vote
16th – Established Federal Income Tax
17th – Popular Vote for Senators
18th – Prohibition
19th – Gave Women the Vote
20th – Terms for Legislators and Presidential Succession
21st – Ended Prohibition
22nd – Presidential Term Limits
23rd – Electoral Votes for District of Columbia
24th – Abolished Poll Taxes
25th – Clarification of Presidential Succession
26th – Lowered Voting Age to 18
27th – Legislators may not give themselves raises during an election year.