The Constitution forms the framework for the United States federal government. It is among our most important national documents.
The Constitution affects the lives of every single American. By setting forth and protecting specific liberties and freedoms, it represents a strong check to the government's ability to infringe on the rights of individuals.
It also establishes and limits the powers of the federal government and puts in place a system of checks and balances to ensure no one branch of government dominates the other.
In its longevity it is unrivaled in history. No other democracy has prospered under a single constitution for as long as the U.S. has under ours. This vital document should be read and treasured by all Americans of any political stripe.
You can read the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights or learn about how to visit the National Archives in Washington, DC where the these documents are kept by visiting the National Archives' website.
From the National Archives: The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.