In honor of Independence Day, here are 13 little-known bits of trivia about the United States constitution, courtesy of constitutionfacts.com:
- The first constitution was not known as the Declaration of Independence. It was called the Articles of Confederation.
- The U.S. Constitution has 4,400 words. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world.
- There are spelling errors throughout the Constitution, but the misspelling of the word “Pensylvania” above the signers’ names is a notable one.
- Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention, where he served as the U.S. minister.
- The Constitution was “penned” by Jacob Shallus, a Pennsylvania General Assembly clerk, for a fee of $30.
- The entire Constitution is displayed in public just one day a year — September 17. This is the anniversary of the day the framers signed the document.
- Patrick Henry was elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but declined, because he “smelt a rat.”
- The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81). The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).
- When the Constitution was signed, Philadelphia was the nation’s largest city, with 40,000 inhabitants.
- Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face.
- The first time the formal term “The United States of America” was used was in the Declaration of Independence.
- There was initially a question as to how to address the President. The Senate proposed that he be addressed as “His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.” Both the House of Representatives and the Senate compromised on the use of “President of the United States.”
- The word “democracy” does not appear once in the Constitution.
Have a safe and happy July 4th, everyone.
Fascinating Facts about the U.S. Constitution