The U.S. Constitution Quick Facts

Primary Author: James Madison (Drafted the Virginia Plan)

Origins: Proposed, Debated and Drafted at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the Summer of 1787. The meetings of the Convetion took place at Independence Hall.

Ratified: June 21, 1788 (New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify, meeting the requirements set forth in Article VII of the Constitution.)

Order of Ratification

7 December 1787
12 December 1787
New Jersey
18 December 1787
2 January 1788
9 January 1788
7 February 1788
28 April 1788
South Carolina
23 May 1788
New Hampshire
21 June 1788
26 June 1788
New York
24 July 1788
North Carolina
21 November 1789
Rhode Island
29 May 1790


Amendments to the United States Constitution

The Bill of Rights First 10 and the 27th Amendment
Scope of Federal Government Power 11th and 16th Amendments
Federal Elections & Terms 12th, 17th, 20th, 22nd, and 25th Amendments
Civil War Amendments 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments
Suffrage Amendments 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th and 26th Amendments
Prohibition 18th and 21st Amendments

Some information taken from:
National Archives and Records Administration

Q. Where and when did the deputies to the Constitutional Convention assemble?
A. In Philadelphia, in the State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed. The meeting was called for May 14, 1787, but a quorum was not present until May 25.

Q. Was Thomas Jefferson a member of the Constitutional Convention
A. No. Jefferson was American Minister to France at the time of the Constitutional Convention.

Q. What did Thomas Jefferson have to do with framing the Constitution?
A. Although absent from the Constitutional Convention and during the period of ratification, Jefferson rendered no inconsiderable service to the cause of Constitutional Government, for it was partly through his insistence that the Bill of Rights, consisting of the first ten amendments, was adopted.

Q. How long did it take to frame the Constitution?
A. It was drafted in fewer than one hundred working days.

Q. Who presented the Virginia Plan?
A. Edmund Randolph.

Q. What was the Connecticut Compromise?
A. This was the first great compromise of the Constitutional Convention, whereby it was agreed that in the Senate each State should have two members, and that in the House the number of Representatives was to be based upon population. Thus the rights of the small States were safeguarded, and the majority of the population was to be fairly represented.

Q. Did some of the deputies to the Constitutional Convention refuse to sign the Constitution?
A. Only thirty-nine signed. Fourteen deputies had departed for their homes, and three--Randolph and Mason, of Virginia, and Gerry, of Massachusetts--refused to sign. One of the signatures is that of an absent deputy, John Dickinson, of Delaware, added at his request by George Read, who also was from Delaware.

Q. How can it be said that the signing of the Constitution was unanimous, when the deputies of only twelve States signed and some delegates refused to sign?
A. The signatures attest the "Unanimous Consent of the States present." The voting was by States, and the vote of each State that of a majority of its deputies. Hamilton signed this attestation for New York, though as he was the only deputy of the State present he had not been able to cast the vote of his State for the consent, only eleven States voting on the final question.

Q. What has been the longest period during which no amendment has been added to the Constitution?
A. Sixty-one years, from 1804 to 1865. This period elapsed between the Twelfth and Thirteenth Amendments.

Q. How many amendments to the Constitution have been repealed?
A. Only one -- the Eighteenth (Prohibition).