List of Fun Facts
- Although religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment, the phrase "separation of church and state" does not actually appear in the Constitution. That phrase was created by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote that the First Amendment erected a "wall of separation" between the church and the state.
- Nixon asserted that the Constitution granted him the absolute right of executive privilege, or the ability to withhold information. The truth is that there is no specific mention of privilege in the Constitution.
- "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" is not part of the Constitution. It comes from the Declaration of Independence.
- The phrase "Of the people, by the people, for the people" is not part of the Constitution. It comes from the Gettysburg Address.
- The U.S. Constitution was written in the same Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington received his commission as Commander of the Continental Army.
- Of the 55 delegates attending the Constitutional Convention, 39 signed and 3 delegates dissented. Two of America's founding fathers didn't sign the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was representing his country in France and John Adams was doing the same in Great Britain.
- Established on November 26, 1789, the first national "Thanksgiving Day" was originally created by George Washington as a way of "giving thanks" for the Constitution.
- Of all the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.
- At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest.
- More than 11,000 Amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty three have gone to the states to be ratified and twenty seven have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become Amendments to the Constitution.
- In the list of signatories, the word "Pennsylvania" is misspelled; it is written with single 'N': Pensylvania.
- Polybius, historian of Greece (205-125 BC), was the first person to suggest a "mixed government" or divided powers in government.
- The Constitution does not mention the right to trial by a jury of peers. In Article 3, Section 2, the Constitution requires that all criminal trials be heard by a jury and heard in the state the crime was committed. The 6th Amendment requires the jury to be impartial. But nowhere is a jury "of peers" guaranteed.
- The Constitution does not specify how Federal judges are to be qualified. There is no minimum age and no residency requirement.
- Political parties are such a basic part of our political system today, that many people might assume the Constitution must at least mention parties in one way or another... but there is absolutely no mention of political parties anywhere in the Constitution. In fact, in the times of the Articles of Confederation, there weren't even any parties; factions, perhaps; regional blocs, yes; but no parties. Not until the Jackson and Van Buren administrations did organized parties really take hold in the American political system.
- President John Adams, the second President of the United States of America, was the first President to live in the White House in Washington D.C.
- On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution.
- Rhode Island did not send delegates to the Constitutional Convention and was the last of the 13 states to ratify the Constitution.
- James Madison, known as the "Father of the Constitution," is quoted to have said "If men were angels, no government would be necessary."
- The first Convention to change the Articles of Confederation was called at Annapolis in 1786, but not enough representatives attended. The second was in Philadelphia in 1787, which we now refer to as the Constitutional Convention.
- New York, New York, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were the first capitals of the United States. Washington, D.C., was the third.
- Benjamin Franklin initiated the first public library in America.
- The Charters of Freedom are the founding documents of the United States. They are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.