We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
223 years ago today one of the great documents in human history was finalized and signed by representatives of 12 of the original 13 states. Ratification began with Delaware (hence the state nickname) and ended with Rhode Island in 1790, although as only nine states were required for ratification, the Constitution took effect in 1789. At 4,440 words the U.S. Constitution is the shortest in the world, proving once again that brevity is indeed the soul of wit.
While the Constitution is well worth reading, equally important is The Federalist, now known as The Federalist Papers. This collection of 85 essays, written by Constitutional authors James Madison and John Jay as well as Alexander Hamilton, provides insight into the reasoning behind the writing of the Constitution and explicates many of its seemingly ambiguous provisions. Although written prior to the Constitution, and not exactly the Talmud, The Federalist Papers should be read by every American with an interest in their country’s founding.
After you’ve read the U.S. Constitution, take a look at the Chinese Constitution for comparison.