Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Lesson Plans > The Constitution

Back to Lesson Plans

Opening paragraph from the 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.'

[Detail] The United States Constitution

Overview | Preparation | Procedure | Evaluation

Lesson Overview

It is Fall 1787. The Federal Convention has recently concluded its closed door meetings in Philadelphia and presented the nation with a new model for the government. It is now up to each special state convention to decide whether to replace the Articles of Confederation with this new constitution. The debate is passionate and speaks directly to what the founding fathers had in mind in conceiving this new nation. Does this new government represent salvation or downfall? As a politically active citizen of your region, you will take a stand on this crucial issue of the day.


Students will understand:

  • the forces that shaped the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and the Constitution;
  • that government is based on written documents;
  • that the Constitution was a nationalist victory over state autonomy; and
  • that the Articles of Confederation were not replaced solely because they were inadequate.


Time Required

  • Three weeks

Recommended Grade Level

  • 9-12


  • Government, Law & Politics


  • The New Nation, 1783-1815


Claudia Argyres and Jim Smith