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Task 18. Read, translate the text and do exercises. The Basis of American Statehood





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The Constitution of the United States is the central instrument of American government and the supreme law of the land.

For 200 years, it has guided the evolution of governmental institutions and has provided the basis for political stability; individual freedom, economic growth and social progress.

The American Constitution is the world's oldest written constitution in force, one that has served as the model for a number of other constitutions around the world. The path to the Constitution was neither straight nor easy. A draft document emerged in 1787, but only after intense debate and six years of experience with an earlier federal union.

The 13 British colonies declared their independence from England in 1776. A year before, war had broken out between the colonies and Great Britain, a war for independence that lasted for six bitter years. While still at war, the colonies — now calling themselves the United States of America — drafted a compact which bound them together as anation. The compact, designated the «Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union», was adopted by the Congress of the states in 1777 and formally signed in July 1777. In February 1787 the Continental Congress, the legislative body of the republic, issued a call for the states to send delegates to Philadelphia to revise the Articles. The Constitutional or Federal Convention convened on May 25, 1787 in Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence had been adopted 11 years earlier on July 4, 1776. Although the delegates had been authorized only to amend the Articles of Confederation, they pushed the Articles aside and proceeded to construct a charter for a wholly new, more centralized form of government.

The new document, the Constitution, was completed on September 17, 1787, and was officially adopted on March 4, 1789. The 55 delegates who drafted the Constitution, included most of the outstanding leaders, or Founding Fathers, of the new nation. All agreed on the central objectives expressed in the preamble to the Constitution: “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common 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”.

 

Notes

1. statehood – державність

2. government – уряд, держава, влада, управління

3. constitution in force – чинна конституція

4. draft – проект

5. to bind – зв'язати, об'єднати

6. to issue a call – звернутися з закликом

7. to amend – вносити поправки

8. to push aside – відкинути

9. blessings – благословення

10. posterity – нащадки

11. neither...nor – ні...нi

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