After winning the war for independence from Great Britain, the 13 American colonies became the 13 States of America. They adopted the Articles of Confederation as their system of government. However, the Articles proved to be ineffective, and only a few short years after gaining its independence, the young country was headed for fracture and failure.
In the summer of 1787, 12 of the states (Rhode Island excepted) sent delegates to Philadelphia in a last-ditch effort to fix the Articles. But it soon became clear that the problems facing the young country were too great for the Articles of Confederation to address, even in an amended form. Thus, the delegates created a new Constitution, one that brilliantly established an entirely new (and daring) form of republican government. A government of enumerated and separated powers. A government that is truly of the People, by the People, and for the People.
"We the People of the United States..." So begins our Constitution.