Our Constitution Rocks

Our Constitution Rocks

5.0 2
by Juliette Turner

The constitution made cool and relevant for kids—by another kid! Fourteen-year-old Juliette Turner, youth advocate for Constituting America, reminds us of the astounding feat our founding fathers accomplished when they penned the Constitution.See more details below

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The constitution made cool and relevant for kids—by another kid! Fourteen-year-old Juliette Turner, youth advocate for Constituting America, reminds us of the astounding feat our founding fathers accomplished when they penned the Constitution.

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8 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Our Constitution Rocks

By Juliette Turner


Copyright © 2012 Juliette Turner
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-73421-5

Chapter One

THE PREAMBLE to the United States Constitution

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.

The Bottom Line

This short paragraph sums up what the Constitution—and the government it created—is meant to accomplish. It is not law! It is simply an introduction.

What Were They Thinking?

Gouverneur Morris wrote this small yet brilliantly composed paragraph to clarify what the Constitution was intended to accomplish.

Why Should I Care?

The Preamble sums up who we are and what we stand for as a country.

Breakin' It Down

We the People of the United States: At this time, the use of the words "We the People" was revolutionary and had never been heard before. The Articles of Confederation had been an agreement among the states, but according to this new phrase, the Constitution had everything to do with the people.

To form a more perfect Union: The goal of the Constitution is to unify the states in areas such as commerce, national security, and currency, so that the nation can prosper and be safe.

Establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense: This phrase is an example of the government's job and what it was intended to do.

Promote the general welfare: The government is to promote, not provide, the conditions for a life of freedom. The Anti-Federalists, or those against the Constitution, thought this phrase would grant the government too much power. It turns out, the Anti-Federalists were somewhat correct. Today, this phrase is used to fund certain projects that might benefit members of Congress or some "favorite" constituents rather than the people as a whole.

Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity: The Constitution was written to limit our government's power so that the liberties of the people will always be protected.

How Can I Make a Difference?

Memorize the Preamble and its true meaning and then share it with your friends.

What Has It Done For Me Lately?

The Preamble reminds us daily of our patriotic duty as a country to uphold our Constitution! Learn more about it at the Constitution Center online, at constitutioncenter.org.

LIBERTY Language

Constitution: The basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it.

Preamble: An introductory statement.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. —Declaration of Independence —Thomas Jefferson


Read the actual words spoken by our Framers


Two sovereignties cannot co-exist within the same limits. Giving powers to Congress must eventuate in a bad government or in no government.


I have the highest veneration of those gentlemen—but sir, give me leave to demand, what right had they to say, "We, the People"? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask who authorized them to speak the language of, "We, the People," instead of "We, the States"? States are the characteristics, and the soul of the confederation. If the states be not the agents of this compact, it must be one of great consolidated national government of the people of all the states.


The thirteen states are thirteen Sovereign bodies. Back then, each state thought of itself as its own country.


All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.



Congress, under the Articles of Confederation, was a unicameral legislature, with only one branch of congress. It wasn't very democratic because congressmen were appointed by state legislatures, and only white men with property could vote for the state legislatures. Plus the Articles of Confederation didn't establish any national executive or judiciary branch. Without a proper national government, states started arguing between themselves, which resulted in the calling of the Constitutional Convention.

The Bottom Line

Article I Section 1 describes how the legislative branch is broken down into two separate branches—a bicameral legislature made up of the House and Senate.

What Were They Thinking?

Our Founding Fathers knew that the current government under the Articles of Confederation needed to be changed. James Madison wanted to form a new structure of government that would have three different branches, who would constantly be checking each other. One of these branches would be a bicameral legislature with the House and Senate.

Why Should I Care?

The Congress and Congressional officials represent you in Washington, D.C. Have you ever heard someone tell you to "contact your representative in Washington"? Well, thanks to our Founding Fathers and Article I, Section 1, we have people in Washington, D.C. who are, or are supposed to be, listening to our needs.

Breakin' It Down

This is how the plan for our legislative branch came about. While waiting for the other delegates to arrive at the Convention, James Madison etched out the Virginia Plan, where he wrote about his plan for the government.

He felt that the Articles of Confederation needed to be trashed and that the thirteen separated states needed to be merged into one united country. He also planned for there to be a bicameral legislature, but the number of delegates per state would be based on the state's financial contributions or the state's populace. He established the three-branch system of government, as well. Governor Edmund Randolph then introduced this plan on behalf of James Madison to their fellow delegates on May 29, 1787. It did not sit well with the delegates from Delaware and New Hampshire, the smaller states. These delegates were unhappy because smaller states wouldn't have as many delegates as larger states. In response, the smaller states introduced the New Jersey plan, which focused on equal representation for all states in the legislature.

This argument led to the Connecticut Compromise, or the Great Compromise of July 29, 1787. This compromise accepted the plan of having a bicameral legislature, yet, in one branch the number of delegates would be based on population—the House—and the other branch would have an equal amount of delegates per state—the Senate.

LIBERTY Language

Bicameral Legislature: A governmental body with two houses or chambers, such as the US Congress or British Parliament.

Today, since the House contains more representatives per state, their job is to listen to the peoples' needs and desires. The Senate's job is to represent the states, balancing the passions of the people.

How Can I Make a Difference?

Make sure your elected official in Congress is doing his job: representing you in Washington, D.C. Google their voting record!

What Has It Done For Me Lately?

This section is still in effect today! Our Congress is still made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives who are constantly performing their jobs of passing legislation, debating legislation, and constantly checking each other's actions.


Excerpted from Our Constitution Rocks by Juliette Turner Copyright © 2012 by Juliette Turner. Excerpted by permission of Zonderkidz. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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