State Constitutions


US History The U.S. Constitution State Constitutions
Students learn about the state constitutions that established the individual state governments in existence at the end of the Revolutionary War. They'll learn why these constitutions were written, common aspects among the constitutions, and important differences among them.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the state constitutions that established the individual state governments in existence at the end of the Revolutionary War. They’ll learn why these constitutions were written, common aspects among the constitutions, and important differences among them.

Objectives:

  • Explain why state governments wrote constitutions.
  • Describe similarities and differences among the constitutions.


With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the Americans finally won their independence from Great Britain. One of the biggest issues they faced was how to govern themselves. The United States already had forms of government in place: every state had its own constitution and governing bodies. And during the war, delegates from every state had signed the Articles of Confederation setting up a central government.

Objectives:

  • Explain why state governments wrote constitutions.
  • Describe similarities and differences among the constitutions.




States that had ratified the U.S. Constitution by the end of 1789


Which level of government do you think had the most power at the end of the Revolutionary War?

A) Federal (national)
B) State

Which level of government do you think has the most power today?

A) Federal (national)
B) State

Tell students that states had significantly more power than the federal government after the war. They may be surprised to hear this since today, the federal government has more power.


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