Click on one of the 5 documents to learn more
(March 28, 2001)
Declaration of Independence
  • written and put into effect in 1776 
  • Written by Thomas Jefferson 
Articles of Confederation
  • Drafting began in 1776
  • John Hanson (First president under Articles of Confederation)
  • Took several years to become effective
Federalist Papers
  • Written  between 1776 and 1789
  • Written mainly by James Madison with  Alexander Hamilton, John Jay 
  • The three authors used the pen name "PUBLIUS
U. S. Constitution 
  • Mainly written by James Madison 
  • Effective in 1789 
  • George Washington (First president under the Constitution) 
Bill of Rights (and later amendments)
  • Written by James Madison in 1789
  • Took two years to become effective