How the Constitution was made and adopted.

Read the current chapter online: “The Constitution”


Learn more about the Constitution from The Book of Knowledge:

From the beginning the different and often conflicting interests of the states made it hard to decide many of the questions that arose….

[The] delegates disputed about the powers that the Congress was to have. Some did not want a strong central government; others wished a monarchy, or something very much like it….

There were many other matters on which the delegates from the different states found it hard to agree. In the end, however, these disputed points were settled, and after four months of discussion, the Constitution was adopted and sent by Congress to the states to be voted upon. The Convention had decided that the new government would begin when nine states had ratified, that is, agreed to accept, the Constitution. Any states that refused to join this majority were to be left out….

…[The] most remarkable thing about [the Constitution] is the fact that men with conflicting interests and needs were willing to compromise with one another; each sacrificing something in order to benefit everyone. It is such a spirit of compromise that makes democracy really work.

It is said that Benjamin Franklin, when the Convention ended, pointed to a picture of the sun in the hall and said: “As I have been sitting here all these weeks, I have often wondered whether yonder sun is rising or setting. But now I know that it is a rising sun.”

“Building the New Nation” from The Book of Knowledge

Additional Resources

Constitution Day: A Unit Study
Many resources including further background information in our free unit.

7 Things You May Not Know about the Constitutional Convention
From the History Channel.


“The Signing of the Constitution”
Explore this painting to learn more about the signers.

State, War and Navy Building
Images and info.

Tour the Eisenhower Executive Office Building
The location of the Constitution mentioned in the book.

A Short History of the National Archives Building
And more about the newest location of the Constitution.

Which Founder Are You?
Take this interactive quiz to find out! (requires flash)

That’s Your Right
Great interactive from Annenberg Classroom to familiarize students with the content of the Bill of Rights.

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
(You may want to install an ad blocker before viewing.)

A More Perfect Union

A More Perfect Union by Betsy Maestro
An accurate historical summary of how our Constitution was framed along with a timeline and summary of the Articles.

We the People

We the People: The Story of Our Constitution by Lynne Cheney
Beautifully illustrated retelling from the author of America: A Patriotic Primer, covering the issues that were addressed in the forming of the Constitution.

Shh! We're Writing the Constitution

Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz
We have really enjoyed using the Jean Fritz series of books as an introductory starting place to a topic. This one is illustrated by Tomie dePaola.

Units & Lesson Plans

Thinking as a Founding Father
Lesson plan from the National Constitution Center.

James Madison: A Unit Study
Known as the Father of the Constitution.


National Archives Visitor’s Guide
Nice download that includes information about the Constitution.

Printable Constitution Poster
Free download from The National Constitution Center.

The Constitution Notebooking Pages
Our free and simple notebooking pages for copywork, narrations, dictations, or wrapping up.

Enjoy the entire series:
Free Civics Studies
Free Civics Studies: The Century Book for Young Americans

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