The American Constitution is a document that establishes how the government functions. It establishes the fundamental laws of the country and guarantees certain basic rights to its citizens. It creates the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court.
The Constitution can be changed. The Constitution is changed by an “amendment.” Among the amendments is a list of the rights of the people. By listing these rights, they are made special. It is illegal for the government to violate those rights. As of 2006, there are 27 amendments. Not all of them involve rights, but many do. The first ten amendments are special and are called the Bill of Rights.
The Constitution was written in 1787 and is over 200 years old. From May to September 1787 a group of men known as the Framers met at a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to discuss what should be written in the new Constitution. The United States was a brand new country and had a government that did not work very well.
Some of the Framers of the Constitution are still famous today. They include James Madison, Ben Franklin, and George Washington.
At that time there were only 13 states and members of the Convention came from all the states except Rhode Island. Each state had its own ideas for the new government. The Framers had many debates. By talking about it, they came up with a plan that everyone could agree with.
When the Constitution was written, the Framers knew their creation was not perfect. They knew that other people would have good ideas for the Constitution. They wanted to be sure that it wasn’t too hard to make changes. They also wanted to be sure that it wasn’t too easy. The Framers added an amendment process.
The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution and they guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government’s power and reserve some powers to the states and the public. The Bill of Rights was passed because some people were afraid that the government would have too much power. They were afraid that some things like that right to bear arms could be made illegal. Another example is the freedom of speech allowing you to say whatever you want about the government. You are given the right to say you don’t like the war in Iraq, you don’t like certain laws tax. If you wish we can criticize the President, the Congress or the mayor. We can say what things they do that we don’t like. This is only possible because of the Right of Free Speech. The Bill of Rights protects Free Speech.