Founding Documents


This was adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, it passed on July 2, 1776 and was signed on July 4, 1776. This announced the unanimous decision of the thirteen colonies to separate from Great Britain and become a sovereign nation.

“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.” Read the rest here.


This is the supreme law of the land that was drafted by James Madison and ratified in 1789. It has been amended twenty seven times. It lays out how the federal government is divided into three equal branches: the legislature with a bicameral Congress; the executive with a President; and the judicial with the Supreme Court and other courts.

According to the United States Senate: “The Constitution’s first three words—We the People—affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. For over two centuries the Constitution has remained in force because its framers wisely separated and balanced governmental powers to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights, of liberty and equality, and of the federal and state governments.”

“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.” Read the rest here.