Imagine if the U.S. had no national laws and no president, and every state had a different kind of money – this is what life was life for Americans after the Revolution. Despite the fact that there was a Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, there were no real guidelines for running the new country. This is where the Constitution came in; for kids learning about the birth of the nation, this issue is critical in showing how this essential document came to be – and how it has shaped American life ever since then.
The Constitution, for kids, starts with a visit to the Constitutional Convention, where the purpose and structure of the new government was hammered out in the Preamble, Articles, Sections, and Clauses. This issue then follows the bitter ratification battle that took place between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, who fought over such key issues as slavery and states’ rights, and looks how James Madison, considered the father of the Constitution, helped settle many of these disputes. The argument over including a Bill of Rights is covered too, along with a look at the 10 amendments that resulted from this struggle. Also discussed: the other 11,000 amendments that have been suggested over time, but which have resulted in only 17 more changes to the Constitution. For kids curious about how the ideals of this all-important document are upheld, info on how the Supreme Court protects and upholds its wording and values are also sure to impress.