Federalism

“Federalism” is the word used to describe the Constitution’s system of dividing political power between the national government and the states. What is federalism and how does it work? Why did the founders build federalism into our constitutional system and what are the modern debates over federalism today? Explore the National Constitution Center’s Federalism learning module to learn more!

Article VII: Ratification

After months of debate during the hot Philadelphia summer, on September 17, 1787, the Constitutional Convention finally adjourned and the new Constitution was signed, but it was not the law of the land yet. According to Article VII of the document, nine of 13 states would have to ratify (or approve) the new Constitution before it would officially replace the Articles of Confederation as our governing document.

Constitution of the United States with Index and the Declaration of Independence, Pocket Edition

This is the 25th pocket edition of the complete text of two core documents of American democracy, the Constitution of the United States (with amendments) and the Declaration of Independence. The resolution calling for the ratification of Constitutional Convention is also included. A topical index to the Constitution is provided. (House Document 112-29, 2012)

Grade 3-5 Passing the Constitution, A Lesson in State Ratification

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the ratification period that followed the Federal Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Through various activities to understand the what, why, who, where, and when of state ratification debates, students will see that state ratification of the Constitution was a critical element of establishing the new government’s legitimacy. Student activities throughout the day will help to build a State Ratification Bulletin Board.

Grades 3, 4, 5
Foundations of Democracy
Lesson Plans

Our Constitution

The Our Constitution book, written by Donald A. Ritchie and JusticeLearning.org, takes an in-depth look at the Constitution, annotated with detailed explanations of its terms and contents. Included are texts of primary source materials, sidebar material on each article and amendment, profiles of Supreme Court cases, and timelines. The complete book or individual chapters can be downloaded.

Grades 8, 9-12
Foundations of Democracy
Books

Constitution of the United States

The original U.S. Constitution is on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Drafted in 1787 after a hard-won victory in the War for Independence, this document codified the spirit of the Revolution into an ingenious practical scheme of government to promote the welfare of all its citizens.

Federal Government
Primary Sources

Constitution Homepage on DocsTeach.org

Bring the Constitution to life

Locate primary sources from the holdings of the National Archives related to such topics as “checks and balances,” “representative government,” all 27 amendments, and other concepts found in the Constitution. This special home page devoted to the U.S. Constitution also features activities to share with students, such as “The Constitution at Work,” which uses primary sources to demonstrate the Constitution in action in our everyday lives.

Grades 5, 6-12
Federal Government
Assessments