Bill of Rights
Government Games & Activities for Kids
The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights.
The United States Constitution is the longest surviving written charter of governance in the United States. It was written in 1787, approved in 1788 and operations in 1789. The first three words 'We the people" are some of the most famous affirmations that the government of the United States exists to serve the citizens.
The Articles of Confederation, formally named the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among all 13 original states in the United States of America that served as its first constitution. The Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781. The colonies resented the laws of the British Parliament so they set up a central government of their own. The only branch of government was a Congress with one house. Congress had power over military and foreign affairs but not over the affairs of each individual state. They could not enforce its powers or collect taxes. The articles were too weak to create a functioning central government so in 1787 the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia with Ben Franklin and George Washington present and a new document went into effect called the Constitution. The Constitution of the United States was ratified June 21, 1788.
The Declaration of Independence is an important document in the history of the United States and was ratified July 4, 1776. It is a completely different document than the U.S. Constitution but people often use them interchangeably. The Declaration of Independence says that America is no longer under British rule and the 13 colonies come together to become a union of new and free and independent states.