Creating the U.S. Constitution: A Time Line
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
The Constitution of the United States is over 200 years old. Below are some of the important dates that led to the creation of the Constitution:
1775 — The Revolutionary War between the Colonies and Britain begins.
1776 —Declaration of Independence written; the 13 colonies become the 13 states, but are not yet united under one central government.
1781 — The last battle of the Revolutionary War takes place; the 13 states set up a federal government under laws called the Articles of Confederation.
1786 — Representatives from five states meet at Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss interstate trade. Because so few representatives attend, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison call for another convention to be held in Philadelphia.
1787 — The Constitutional Convention begins on May 25, in Philadelphia. Fifty-five representatives attend and begin drafting the Constitution. On September 17, 1787, the convention comes to a close as the representatives sign the Constitution.
1788 — The Constitution becomes the law of the land after New Hampshire becomes the ninth and last state required to approve it.
Discussing the Constitution's Origins
The Constitution was a new set of rules that told our government how to work. Rules and laws help people get along with each other. Rules can help to keep us safe. What rules do you follow at home and at school? Why are rules important? What might happen if you don't follow them?
The 55 men who wrote the Constitution worked on it for four months. That would be as long as from now until December. Sometimes they agreed about what they wanted to write, at other times they didn't. Did you ever work on a big project with other children? Did you always agree with each other about your project? What happened when there were disagreements? How were they solved?
Adapted from Scholastic News.