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Legal Research & Law

Research guide designed to help those researching the law or legal topics.

U.S. Constitution Fast Facts

The Constitution of the United States comprises the primary law of the U.S. Federal Government. It describes the three chief branches of the Federal Government and their jurisdictions, and lays out the basic rights of citizens of the United States. 

The Constitution consists of a Preamble, seven Articles, and twenty-seven Amendments

In 1791, Americans added a list of rights to the Constitution. The first ten amendments became known as The Bill of Rights.

The Constitution was framed by a convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen original states in Philadelphia in May 1787. Rhode Island failed to send a delegate. 

The Constitution was signed on September 17th, 1787 and was ratified by the necessary nine states in 1788. 

The Constitution of the United States is the oldest federal constitution and shortest.


California Constitution

The California State Constitution is the primary law for the State of California.

The state Constitution was created at the Constitutional Convention held in Monterey in September 1849. You can read the official record of that convention.

The Constitution was written by forty-eight delegates many of whom were originally from Iowa and New York.

These framers of the Constitution modeled it closely on the constitutions of Iowa and New York.

The Constitution made California a "free" state from which slavery would be excluded.

The California State Constitution was ratified by popular vote on November 13, 1849 and state officials were chosen the same day.