The Constitution — in 140 characters


National Archives

With spaces and punctuation, it takes 327 characters to print the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

Now, suppose the Founding Fathers had to Tweet it?

As part of the Constitution’s 225th anniversary, the Archivist of the United States has thrown down the gauntlet, calling on Twitter users to boil down the Preamble to 140 characters or fewer.

Through Monday (the day in 1787 that a majority of Constitutional Convention delegates approved the documents), you can be part of the National Archives contest “to condense the meaning of the Preamble in a bite-sized tweet.”

The Archivist (David Ferriero, like you knew), will pick a best tweet. The winner gets a pocket-size Constitution.

Here’s the Preamble:

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, 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.

There’s a growing list of entries on Twitter using the #preamble hashtag.

Tweeting is great — love the Twitter. But there’s still no better way to learn the Preamble than to sing it.

Take it away, Schoolhouse Rock!

Note: I’m not kidding, that Schoolhouse Rock song gets me a little choked up when I hear it.

— Paul Tosto

  • Kim E

    I still know the Preamble word for word because my 12th grade US Government teacher made us all learn it, and she taught it to us by making us watch the “School House Rock” video over and over. This was 10 years ago! Just don’t forget to add “of the United States,” which was cut from the song!

  • BJ

    Schoolhouse Rock, Rocks!!

  • Pat

    I’ve never seen nor heard the Schoolhouse Rock Preamble. It literally gave me goosebumps. Guess I’m not a totally hardened cynic yet.