Constitution Facts

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The U.S. Constitution was written in the same Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington received his commission as Commander of the Continental Army. Now called Independence Hall, the building still stands today on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, directly across from the National Constitution Center.

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Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed on September 17th. But it wasn’t until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states.

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The U.S. Constitution was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries.

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Established on November 26, 1789, the first national “Thanksgiving Day” was originally created by George Washington as a way of “giving thanks” for the Constitution.

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Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.

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At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest.

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The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping.

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More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty three have gone to the States to be ratified and twenty seven have received the necessary approval from the States to actually become amendments to the Constitution.

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Three Latin phrases appear in the Constitution: pro tempore, ex post facto, and habeas corpus

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The 85 articles of The Federalist were instrumental in getting the Constitution ratified and were written by Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. 

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The Constitutional Convention lasted from May 25, 1787 through September 17, 1787. George Washington served as president of the Constitutional Convention, but did not speak during any of the proceedings until the Convention’s final day. 

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During the Convention, George Washington sat in a chair that had a representation of half a sun on the top, which Benjamin Franklin regularly gazed at during troublesome moments of the proceedings. Asked why, he said he was unable to decide if the sun was rising or setting. Only when the Constitution was signed did Franklin decide the sun was rising. 

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John Shallus, a clerk for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, physically wrote the Constitution down on parchment paper. The Convention paid him $30 for his services, which is worth about $800 today. 

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Rhode Island was the only State that refused to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention and was the last State to ratify the Constitution (May 29, 1790). 

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One of the Constitutional Convention’s debates was the title of the nation’s Chief Executive. One possible idea: “His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.” Eventually everyone settled on “The President of the United States.” 

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Giving comfort to grammar errants everywhere, the official copy of the Constitution contains an incorrect word — Article 1, Section 10 uses “it’s” when it should be “its,” even in 18th-century usage. However, the word “chuse” as used in the Constitution was acceptable at the time. So was the alternative spelling of Pennsylvania, Pensylvania; the Constitution actually uses both spellings. 

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The United States Constitution is also referred to as 'The Bundle of Compromises'. 

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Nowhere in the United States Constitution does the words 'democracy' or 'God' appear. 

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Patrick Henry did not attend because he said he 'smelt a rat'. 

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The United States population when the Constitution was signed was 4 million. Today the population is more than 309 million. 

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The United States Constitution has been changed 17 times since 1791. 

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When it came time for the States to ratify the Constitution, the lack of any bill of rights was the primary sticking point. 

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Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face. 

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The first time the formal term "The United States of America" was used was in the Declaration of Independence.