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Preamble to the Constitution Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

If you were writing a Constitution for a new country, how could you begin to make people understand how important what you're about to say is? Find out why the Founding Fathers used the words they did in the Constitution's preamble and why it is still so important over 200 years later.

What is the Preamble to the Constitution?

The preamble or opening paragraph of the U.S. Constitution was added by the Committee of Style in 1787 after most of the Constitution was already written. Today the preamble is one of the most famous parts of the Constitution. The preamble reads:

''We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquilty, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.''

Founding Fathers in 1787 adopting the U.S. Constitution.
Constitutional Convention

Why Say ''We the People''

Prior to the Constitution, the other major papers and treaties written in the United States at that time talked about the United States and then listed the states individually by name. By beginning the Constitution with ''We the People,'' the Founding Fathers showed that the new country was united and for the people.

The Constitution
We the People

The New Government's Responsibilities

The next part of the preamble is actually a list of goals for the new government.

''Form a more perfect Union'' showed that the new government was supposed to be better than what there was before and to keep getting better. The Constitution took the place of the Articles of Confederation, which was a group of connected states with a weak central government.

''Establish Justice.'' The Founding Fathers wanted the new Constitution to protect each person's rights and make sure there is justice. To do this, a federal court system would be set up with a Supreme Court at the top.

''Insure domestic Tranquility.'' The Constitution would create a government strong enough to make sure there was peace inside the new country.

''Provide for the common defense.'' While the phrase above talked about having peace inside the country, these words talk about protecting the citizens of the new country from outside threats. The states, together, would defend the nation.

''Promote the general Welfare.'' The federal government will take care of its citizens and do what's best for the country as a whole, not just for a single state.

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