5 Crazy Facts About The United States Constitution

On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the United States Constitution, thereby making the document the law of the land. Here are five crazy facts you didn't know about this important document...


The Electoral College Was Just As Controversial Then As It Is Now Americans generally understand the Electoral College as part of the Presidential election process, but it's a topic that has long been shrouded in contention and debate. And the debate dates back to the time when the Constitution was initially was first drafted. Sixty separate ballots for the delegates had to be cast before the Electoral College was finally accepted. Those who argued in favor of the Electoral College believed it was a solid middle ground between those who wanted the president to be chosen based on the popular vote and those who wanted a Congressional vote. Since then, there have been over 500 proposals to reform or abolish the Electoral College.

It Cost $30 To Write The Constitution Many of the founding fathers were present when the Constitution was written and ratified, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. But the actual wording and writing of the document were conducted by other individuals who were paid for their services. Gouverneur Morris, a Founding Father of the United States,  wrote the Preamble to the Constitution and handled the majority of the document's wording. Jacob Shallus, an assistant clerk, was the one who actually held the pen and wrote the now-infamous words. Shallus was paid a handsome $30 for his penmanship, which equates to approximately $900 today.


It's Riddled With Odd Spellings Back when the Constitution was originally written, the English language consisted of spellings of words that had not yet been standardized. As such, today, we find many words with unfamiliar spellings, British spellings, and even some words that seemed out of place by today's standards. For instance, the word Pennsylvania is missing an "n." There are spellings such as "defence," labour," and even "chuse" for choose. William Hickey, a clerk in the U.S. Senate, noticed all the errors in words and punctuations and corrected them in the 1840s, and the corrected version was published in 1847. 

Not Every Delegate Signed It It may come as a bit of a surprise that not all founding fathers signed the Constitution. Some were unable to attend during its signing, including Thomas Jefferson, who was serving as the Minister to France in Paris at the time, and John Adams, who was serving as Minister to Great Britain. Three of the delegates refused to sign it because there was no bill of rights that added protections for ordinary citizens in the new country. These were George Mason of Virginia, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, and Edmund Randolph of Virginia. Others such as Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and John Hancock—whose signature was such a standout on the Declaration of Independence—simply did not attend. When Henry was asked why he declined to attend the convention, he supposedly said, "I smelt a rat."

The First Amendment Was Originally The Third The First Amendment – which protects our freedom of speech, religious expression, the press, and the right to peaceful assembly – was originally the Third Amendment. At the drafting of the Bill of Rights, 19 amendments were proposed by James Madison. But the first two were not ratified immediately. As such, what has initially considered the Third Amendment became the First. The second amendment regulated Congressional compensation. That amendment was not ratified for another 203 years: Originally the second, it became the 27th amendment.

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