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We the People

September 16, 2014
U.S. Constitution

Wednesday marks the 227th anniversary of the United States Constitution.  Signed in Philadelphia at Independence Hall on September 17, 1787 , the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation.  Adopted in 1777 and ratified in 1781, the Articles created a confederation of sovereign states.  However, after the end of the Revolutionary War, it became apparent that a stronger central government was needed.  Twelve states sent delegates to the constitutional convention, but Rhode Island boycotted the convention.

Delaware was the first to ratify, but others, notably Massachusetts, held out for a promise that amendments would be added to guarantee the various rights, including freedom of religion, speech and the press.  Once ratified by nine states, it was agreed that the new form of government would be effective on March 4, 1789, with the first session of Congress in New York.  George Washington was inaugurated as our first President on April 30, 1789.  The Supreme Court met for the first time on February 2, 1790.

During its first term, Congress passed  the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the lower federal courts.

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