THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
RESOURCE TOOLKIT FOR AMERICAN SPACES
This Resource Toolkit is designed for programming at American Spaces to create a greater awareness of the U.S. Constitution, how it was formed, and its impact on America and throughout the world.
The Constitution – the fundamental framework of America’s federal system of government. It sets out the structure of the government as well many of the rights and freedoms that are protected against government interference.
Bill of Rights – a formal statement of the fundamental rights of the people of the United States, incorporated in the Constitution as Amendments 1–10.
Amendment – a change or addition designed to improve a text.
Federalism – is a mixed or compound mode of government that combines a central government with regional governments in a single political system.
WHAT IS THE U.S. 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 defense, 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.Preamble to the United States Constitution
The Constitution acted like a colossal merger, uniting American states with different interests, laws, and cultures. Under America’s first form of national government as outlined by the Articles of Confederation, the states acted together only for specific purposes. The Constitution united the nation’s citizens as members of one unified nation, vesting the power of this new union in its people. Without it, the American Experiment might have ended as quickly as it had begun. All four pages of the original document are on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Above is the preamble, or beginning of the Constitution.
- iCivics – Students will learn how our Constitution was created and what some of its key characteristics are.
- Annenberg Classroom – Learn about the Bill of Rights, how to make a law, and the three branches of government
- iCivics Games – These fun games cover topics related to the U.S. Constitution
- American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith – Smithsonian
- American Stories, 1776- 1801: Forming a New Nation – Smithsonian
Kanopy Democracy Series
Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions, using high-res 360 videos, highlights documents that tell the story of American constitutionalism from the founding era through the turn of the twentieth century.
*This series is available via eLibraryUSA through Kanopy and can be shown at American Spaces or online in closed platforms by American Spaces.
AMERICA’S FOUNDING DOCUMENTS
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights: These three documents, known collectively as the Charters of Freedom, have secured the rights of the American people for nearly 250 years and are considered instrumental to the founding and philosophy of the United States. These documents have been used around the world as blueprints to establish a democracy.
THE NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER
The National Constitution Center serves as America’s leading nonpartisan platform for constitutional education and debate. Here are some of its resources:
- Interactive Constitution – Learners of all ages can learn about various interpretations of the Constitution.
- We the People video series – These award-winning educational videos cover a range of topics appropriate for American Spaces audiences.
- Virtual Tours – You can explore exhibits on the drafting and signing of the Constitutions and on Alexander Hamilton.
- Lesson Plans – Dozens of lesson plans by grade level.
- Explore the principles of the American Constitution Slide deck and worksheets.
The views expressed in these links and resources do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. government.
Updated April 2023