“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”
Today we celebrate the 226th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution in Philadelphia, Penn. The Constitutional Convention convened in response to dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation and the need for a strong centralized government. Although the vote was close in some states, the Constitution was eventually ratified and the new Federal government came into existence in 1789.
And, to mark the historical occasion, the Library of Congress is releasing a web publication and free “app” for smart devices that places a clause-by-clause explanation of the important document in the hands of millions of people.
The new resources, which include analysis of Supreme Court cases through June 26, 2013, will be updated multiple times each year as new court decisions are issued. Legal professionals, teachers, students and anyone researching the constitutional implications of a particular topic can easily locate constitutional amendments, federal and state laws that were held unconstitutional, and tables of recent cases with corresponding topics and constitutional implications.
Release of the web publication and app also coincide with the 100th anniversary edition of a printed document, “The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation,” which was published at the direction of the U.S. Senate for the first time in 1913. Popularly known as the Constitution Annotated, the volume has been published as a bound edition every 10 years, with updates addressing new constitutional law cases issued every two years. The analysis is provided by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress. These new resources will now make the nearly 3,000-page Constitution Annotated more accessible to more people and enable updates of new case analysis throughout each year.
While the Constitution serves as a model of compromise and collaborative statesmanship, the road to it was a slow and difficult process – most of which took place during a long revolutionary war. The Library’s online exhibition, “Creating the United States,” takes a look at the path in creating one of our nation’s most fundamental documents. Included is an interactive that let’s viewers connect with particular phrases and ideas, along with edits made when drafting the document.