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The Preamble

presidents
Four of America's greatest Presidents were carved into the face of Mount Rushmore: (from left) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Mount Rushmore National Park is in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
(Photo: Joseph Sohm; Visions of America/Corbis )
The first sentence of the Constitution is called the preamble.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The preamble does not grant or restrict powers. It explains the purpose of the Constitution and sets the stage for the first 7 articles and the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, that follow.

The first three words of the preamble, "We the People," may be the three most important words in the history of American democracy!

For more information about Constitution Day, visit the National Constitution Center's Web site at www.constitutioncenter.org.