In what year did the Constitution become the law of the land?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Naturally, the preceding posts correctly identify the year the document was written and when it was put into effect.  The Constitution became the supreme law of the land after intense debate and discussion at the Constitutional Convention. It is interesting to see how the framers valued debate and discourse amongst themselves, for only after this did the document emerge and become validated.  It was in this hot summer in Philadelphia where the temperature was exceeded only by the intensity of the debates on issues such as individual rights, governmental control, representation in Congress, and the issue of slavery.  With the exception of the last one, the framers did a very good job of reaching agreements with one another that would outline the purpose of the republic and ensure that power from the top down could be enshrined in the law.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Constitution was signed on Sept 17, 1787. Many of the ammendments were added in following years. The website below will give you exact dates that ammendments were added.

Likewise, the constitution was regularly ratified, and gained further application to people by various states as they joined the union after obtaining statehood.

The constitution went into effect March 4, 1789. 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Constitution was written in 1787.  The government of the United States that started operating under the Constitution met in March of 1789.  The reason for the difference is that it took some time for enough states to ratify the Constitution and then for a government to be set up.

Officially, however, the Constitution became the law of the land when it was ratified by New Hampshire on June 21, 1788.  The Constitution said that it would become the law of the land when nine out of the original thirteen states ratified it.  New Hampshire was the ninth state.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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American people began setting up a system of government as soon as they adopted the declaration of independence in 1776. However before the American revolution ended in 1783, each state had its independent constitution. In 1781 the states adopted the Articles of Confederation that established a federal government. Under these articles each state was supposed to work independently for it's own ends. However this system was found to be inadequate for effective functioning of the confederation. Therefore in 1787 delegates of all the states except Rhode Island met to consider revision of the Articles of confederation and  agreed to write a new constitution. After much debate, the delegates reached an agreement on the constitution on September 17, 1787. This constitution came into force when on June 21, 1788 New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it.

Bills of Rights, which forms a very important part of the present day American Constitution became a part of it  on December 15, 1791, when 10 amendments containing these rights became a law.

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