The US Constitution: The World's Oldest Currently In Force

220 years ago, on March 4, 1789, the US Constitution entered into force. On this day, the federal authorities, created in accordance with the Constitution, began to work. The US Constitution is the first written constitution and the oldest nationally drafted constitution currently in force. It was drafted and adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in May-September 1787.

The 1787 Constitution was preceded by the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The latter was proclaimed during the struggle against Great Britain by representatives of thirteen British colonies – Virginia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

The War of Independence forced the states to conclude a confederal alliance in 1777. In 1783, the war was ended with the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles, which recognized the independence of the colonies.

In 1787, representatives from 13 states gathered in Philadelphia to review the status of the confederation. As a result of the meetings of the Convention, which lasted from May 14 to September 17, not only the status of the union was revised, but also the Constitution of the new state was developed.

This document mainly reflected the interests of the social groups represented in the Convention – the slave owners, the landed aristocracy, the big bourgeoisie.

In accordance with Article VII, the Constitution entered into force after the approval by special ratification conventions of 9 out of 13 states on June 21, 1788. On September 13, 1788, the Continental Congress passed a resolution to give effect to the Constitution. On March 4, 1789, new federal authorities began to work, created in accordance with the new Constitution.

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The original text of the Constitution mainly determined the structure of state power bodies, their relationship, built on the basis of the principle of “checks and balances”. The Constitution distributed competence “horizontally” at the federal level (Articles I-III), “vertically” (between the Union and the states – Articles I and IV), established the procedure for changing the Basic Law itself (Article V), contained various provisions in Article VI , some of which became invalid (on the recognition by the United States of pre-constitutional debts), while others, on the contrary, acquired special significance (for example, the rules on the relationship between domestic and international law). Finally, Article VII speaks of the entry into force of the Constitution itself.

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The US Constitution: The World's Oldest Currently In Force. (2019, Jun 20). Retrieved from

The US Constitution: The World's Oldest Currently In Force
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