Putting It Together: Creating a Government

File:United States Constitution.jpg

Figure 1. The first page of the Constitution of the United States of America

The colonists fought a war because they believed in their right to determine their own destinies free from the tyranny of a faraway foreign power. They moved from a monarchy to a young republic. But fighting a war was not enough, the young country needed an alternate government. Replacing the inadequate Articles of Confederation required vision and effort and was no simple process. However, the members of the Constitutional convention took their chance to form a new country and created a document that is still in effect over 230 years later. Though ratification was at first uncertain, the path was finally cleared and the new nation began.

The Constitution Today

The events you learned about in this module took place within a remarkably short amount of time, but their effect has had ripples that reach us today. The system of government the Founders created has been copied and modeled in various ways throughout the world. The amendments that have been added to the Constitution beyond the initial ten added rights and attempted to clarify what had not been written initially. Because the Constitution is a living document, it can continue to be changed as the needs of the country change. Though the Founders sought to limit equality to White, male, property holders, subsequent amendments have expanded access to voting to minorities, people of color, and women. In fact, almost a third of the amendments that have been passed since the Bill of Rights concern voting and elections. The Constitution continues to evolve to fully encompass “We the people.”