Delaware became the first state of the United States by ratifying the Constitution in 1787. The state was named after Thomas West, Lord De La Ware. The Dutch arrived in 1631. The Swedes followed in 1638 and established the first permanent settlement, Wilmington, in the colony. Dover is the capital of this smallest but one state. Its nicknames are the First State and the Diamond State. The ladybug is Delaware’s official state insect. Children could visit an Internet site at: Delaware. They could research why Delaware is called the Diamond State. Are diamonds mined there?
Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution in 1791. The first ten amendments became a part of the Constitution when Virginia ratified them. Presidential Proclamations have marked this day since 1962. Children could view an excellent infographic from Kids Discover: Bill of Rights
New Jersey became the third state by ratifying the Constitution in 1787. It was named after an island in the English Channel. The state’s nickname is the Garden State, and Trenton is the capital. During the American Revolution, at least one hundred battles were fought in New Jersey. It is one of the most densely populated states. While it contains large cities, it also boasts about its farms and shores. The honeybee is the state insect. Children could visit an Internet site at: New Jersey. They could locate on a map the sites of the Revolutionary War battles. They could find out why so many battles happened in New Jersey.
Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781. This document consolidated the thirteen colonies into one country and was the early nation’s frame of government until the Constitution was written in 1789. Children could learn more at: http://bensguide.gpo.gov/9-12/documents/articles/index.html
James Madison suggested the Bill of Rights in 1789. He realized that many people felt the new Constitution was not strong enough without some statements about individual rights. The Bill of Rights added the first ten amendments to the Constitution and became effective December 15, 1791. Children could read a kid-friendly version of the rights: Bill of Rights.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) was created in 1934. It centralizes federal documents and makes them available to the public. The National Archives Building in Washington, DC, houses originals of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. One of the four copies of the Magna Carta is also there. Children can visit the National Archives website at: http://www.nara.gov.
United States Constitution became the law in 1788. New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, and plans were put into action to have the document become the law of the land. Children can learn more at: Constitution.