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NAME _______________________________________ DATE _______________ CLASS _________

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Primary Source Activity


The Constitution
Lesson 3 The Structure of the Constitution
Preamble to the United States Constitution

Did you ever have to write a difficult assignment for school? At


first, the task may seem so hard that you do not know where
to begin. In 1787, members of the Constitutional Convention
met to write a new set of laws for the United States. They, too,
faced a difficult task. How could a handful of men come up
with a constitution worthy of the sacrifices made to form their
new nation? How could they write a lasting set of laws?
Most jobs become easier when you break them down into
smaller steps. Perhaps the conventions members realized that,
too. They divided the U.S. Constitution into parts. The first
part is known as the Preamble, or introduction. The Preamble
explains the purposes of the Constitution. It also says who
created the government of the United States.

Directions: Read the excerpt, paying special


attention to the words. Then answer the questions
that follow on the next page.

Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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 [defense], 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.

NAME _______________________________________ DATE _______________ CLASS _________

netw rks

Primary Source Activity


The Constitution

Analyzing Primary Sources


Part A

Directions: Use a dictionary or thesaurus to write synonyms


words that mean the same or nearly the samefor each word
listed below.

1. perfect
2. union
3. justice
4. domestic
5. tranquility
6. common
7. defense
8. general
9. welfare
Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

10. blessings
11. liberty
12. posterity

NAME _______________________________________ DATE _______________ CLASS _________

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Primary Source Activity


The Constitution
Part B

Directions: Rewrite the Preamble by replacing the original


wording with the synonyms you have written in Part A. Choose
your synonyms carefully to avoid changing the meaning of the
Preamble.

WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in order to form a more


13.
14.

, establish

15.

, insure

16.
17.

, provide for the

18.
19.

, promote the

20.
and secure the

22.

of

23.

to ourselves and our

24.

do ordain and establish this


Constitution for the United States of America.

Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

21.

NAME _______________________________________ DATE _______________ CLASS _________

netw rks

Primary Source Activity


The Constitution
Part C
25. Evaluating One purpose of an introduction is to prepare
the reader for what is to follow. It must set just the right
tone, or mood. Do you think the Preamble does a good
job of preparing readers for a nations set of laws?
Explain. Be sure to refer to parts of the Preamble in your
answer.
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Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.