Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention, by Junius Brutus Stearn, 1856

Wednesday, September 17th, is the 234th birthday of the United States Constitution! Did you know that the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in continuous use? It’s true!

Writing about a subject is the BEST way to really learn about it! In fact, that is why I call my writing program “Writing to Learn.” 🙂 I actually wrote these Key Word Outlining paragraphs as part of my PREP-1 assignments.

To celebrate the Constitution’s birthday, have your students key word outline the paragraphs and then write each as a separate paragraph. The paragraphs can then be put together as a report about the Constitution! While practicing their outlining and writing skills, they will also be learning about our founding government document.

KWO Paragraphs: The U.S. Constitution
KWO Paragraphs: The U.S. Constitution

The painting below was created by Del Parsons in 1987 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Constitution! Visit his website for the fascinating story behind his painting!

The Old Man Wept, by Del Parson, 1987

Some fascinating founding fathers’ quotes about the Constitution:

Benjamin Franklin was an elder statesman by the time of the Constitutional Convention. KWO Paragraph #5 mentions his recommendation of prayer when the Convention seemed on the brink of disintegration. Here are his actual words:

…the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth— that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?…I therefore beg leave to move, That henceforth Prayers, imploring the Assistance of Heaven and its Blessing on our Deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to Business…

As mentioned in KWO Paragraph #6, Franklin expressed his astonishment at the near perfection of the finished Constitution, in spite of the imperfections of the delegates and the process. His exact words were:

…when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an Assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies…

Finally, George Washington’s view of the finished work is apparent from what he wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette after the fact:

It (the Constitution) appears to me, then, little short of a miracle.

The American form of constitutional government had never before been seen on earth. Considering the profound fears of a potent government, the self-interests of the varied states, and the tenacious personalities of the Revolutionary victors, it truly was a miracle.

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