The history of the United States is deeply rooted in its founding documents. These documents have shaped the country’s political, social, and economic landscape for centuries. Here are the four major founding documents that every American should know about:
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most famous document in American history. It was adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776, and declared that the thirteen American colonies were now independent states and no longer a part of the British Empire. The Declaration outlines some of America’s most fundamental values, including “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land and outlines how the federal government operates. It was written in 1787 and ratified in 1788. The Constitution established a system of checks and balances between three branches of government – legislative, executive, and judicial – to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful.
The Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights consists of the first ten amendments to the Constitution and was added to protect individual liberties from government overreach. These amendments include freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, as well as protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers were written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay during 1787-88 to convince people to ratify the Constitution. The papers argued for a strong central government while protecting individual rights. They also provided insight into how the new government would operate.
These four documents represent some of America’s most important values – freedom from tyranny, individual liberties protected by law, checks on governmental power – all while creating a strong central government. They are essential to understanding the United States’ history and identity. Any student of American history should be familiar with these four documents and their significance in shaping the nation.