The Constitution was drafted in 1787, ratified in 1788 and was operating over the first eleven ratifying states by 1789.
Deemed necessary because the Articles of Confederation were insufficient to govern the country, the Constitution created a new government with the power and flexibility to govern the United States of America, a new republic.
The Constitution has changed little since it was adopted. Only 27 amendments have been added since the Constitution’s adoption, though the first ten, the Bill of Rights, were passed soon after the Republic was created. The Bill of Rights protects individual rights and makes explicit the limited scope of the federal government’s powers through an explicit reservation of rights and powers to the states and the people.
An Outline of Articles I-VII of the Constitution
Article I: Creates the Legislative Branch
Article II: Creates the Executive Branch
Article III: Creates the Judicial Branch
Article IV: Crafts the relationship between the federal government and the states, as well as explains the obligations that states owe to each other
Article V: Explains how the Constitution can be amended
Article VI: Explains certain details about the transition from the Articles of Confederation-bound government to the Constitution-bound government and establishes the supremacy of the United States Constitution, international treaties, and all and federal laws made in pursuance of the Constitution
Article VII: Explains how the Constitution is ratified and testifies to the unanimous support of the states represented at the Constitutional Convention
"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."
—James Madison, Speech in the Constitutional Convention, July 11, 1787.