Thirteen British colonies in North America declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776.The Declaration of Independence was proclaimed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776.Thomas Jefferson drafted it.Fifty-six men, including Benjamin Franklin, representing the newly created United States of America were the documentís signers.After War for Independence, also known as the Revolutionary War, began in 1776, the founding fathers of the new nation wanted to establish a government.They created documents to link the thirteen states for joint action to deal with common problems.Drafting the Articles of Confederation begins.It began to tie thirteen states into an alliance, called a confederation.Though not without flaws, the Articles of Confederation served to keep the new country united during the Revolutionary War and after.



The Articles of Confederation are ratified.Under this document, John Hanson of Maryland became the first president of the United States.The Federalists, such as James Madison, wanted a strong central government.Anti-Federalists, such as Thomas Jefferson, opposed a strong central government.Congress instructed the states that the Articles of Confederation be revised.


The Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia in 1787.The Federalists wanted to work out a compromise among them in establishing a strong central government.George Washington was selected as president of the Constitutional Convention.†† James Madison mainly wrote the U.S. Constitution.One feature of the Constitution is the Principle of Separation of Powers.Through this separation, each branch works according to its own authority, forming a check or balance against any abuse of power by the remaining branches.The Constitution also defines the principle of federalism - the relationship between states and the federal government.Ratification of the Constitution was a difficult process and would require popular support.The purpose of the Federalist Papers was to gain popular support for the then-proposed Constitution.James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay created them.They used the pen name, Publius.



Ratification of the U.S. Constitution meant it would be the supreme law of the land.It guaranteed a firm union of people, a strong central government and a balance of representation of each state in Congress.One of its signers was Benjamin Franklin.George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States under it.The Constitution became effective in 1789.It was understood by all states that the Constitution would soon be amended.But ratification of the Constitution was not an easy process.Not all states ratified the Constitution at the same time.


Example:The state of Rhode Island did not send representatives to the Constitutional Convention.It did not ratify the U.S. Constitution until 1790, and was not part of the United States when twelve of the thirteen states ratified it by 1789.Rhode Island became part of the United States after it ratified the Constitution.


The first ten amendments to the Constitution are popularly known as the Bill of Rights.James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights (and later amendments) in 1789.Anti-Federalists were pleased with the Bill of Rights introduced to Congress because they favored guarantees of individual rights.


AFTER 1789

The Bill of Rights was ratified by all states.It safeguards some of the most precious American principles, which includes protections for freedom of religion, speech, and the press.It is the foundation of civil rights and civil liberties.It became effective two years after it was drafted and introduced to Congress.