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After the American Revolution, the United States struggled under a weak government. Although the country was now free from British rule, there was no clear leader or central government to run the nation. Eventually citizens decided to form a government organized under a new constitution.

Review the following video and pay attention to the descriptions and conclusions made about the U.S. Constitution made from the primary source and secondary sources. You may view the entire U.S. Constitution at the U.S. National Archive’s "Charter of Freedom" website Opens a new window.
an oil painting showing a man signing a document while other men looked on

After the American Revolution, the people decided to have their government organized under a new constitution. This painting shows the signing of the Constitution in 1787.
Image credit: The Indian Reporter via Wikimedia Commons Opens a new window

The Constitution of the United States

> Text version for video

The connections between primary and secondary sources help us more easily understand important documents such as constitutions. Since primary sources are often created long ago or in more official language, secondary sources provide useful interpretations of constitutions.

The activities that follow will examine other constitutions from around the world. Think about how secondary sources such as textbooks provide clearer understandings of primary sources from the past.