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The term Charters of Freedom
Charters of Freedom
is used to describe the three documents in early American history which are considered instrumental to its founding and philosophy. These documents are the United States Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. While the term has not entered particularly common usage, the room at the National Archives Building
National Archives Building
in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
that houses the three documents is called the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. The National Archives preserves and displays the texts in massive, bronze-framed, bulletproof, moisture-controlled sealed display cases in a rotunda style room by day and in multi-ton bomb-proof vaults by night.[1] The ‘Charters of Freedom’ are flanked by Barry Faulkner’s two grand murals, one featuring Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
amidst the Continental Congress, the other centering on James Madison
James Madison
at the Constitutional Convention. Alongside the Charters of Freedom
Charters of Freedom
is a dual display of the "Formation of the Union", which is documents related to the evolution of the U.S. government from 1774 to 1791. These include Articles of Association (1774), Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
(1778), Treaty of Paris (1783)
Treaty of Paris (1783)
and Washington’s First Inaugural Address (1789).[2]

Contents

1 History of the documents

1.1 Declaration of Independence 1.2 Constitution

1.2.1 Original errata

1.3 Bill of Rights 1.4 Formation of the Union documents

1.4.1 Articles of Association (1774) 1.4.2 Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
(1778) 1.4.3 Treaty of Paris (1783) 1.4.4 Washington’s Inaugural Address

2 References 3 External links

History of the documents[edit] Declaration of Independence[edit] Main article: Physical history of the United States Declaration of Independence Constitution[edit] At first there was little interest in the parchment object itself. James Madison
James Madison
had custody of it as Secretary of State (1801-9) but having left Washington DC, he had lost track of it in the years leading to his death. A publisher had access to it in 1846 for a book on the Constitution. In 1883, historian J. Franklin Jameson found the parchment folded in a small tin box on the floor of a closet at the State, War and Navy Building. In 1894 the State Department sealed the Declaration and Constitution between two glass plates and kept them in a safe.[2] The two parchment documents were turned over to the Library of Congress by executive order, and in 1924, President Coolidge dedicated the bronze-and-marble shrine for public display of the Constitution at the library's headquarters. The parchments were laid over moisture-absorbing cellulose paper, vacuum-sealed between double panes of insulated plate glass, and protected from light by a gelatin film. Although building construction of the Archives Building was completed in 1935, in December 1941 they were moved from the Library of Congress and stored at the U.S. Bullion Depository, Fort Knox, Kentucky, until September 1944. In 1951, following a study by the National Bureau of Standards to protect from atmosphere, insects, mold and light, the parchments were re-encased with special light filters, inert helium gas and proper humidity. They were transferred to the National Archives in 1952.[2] Since 1952, the "Charters of Freedom" have been displayed in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building. Visual inspections have been enhanced by electronic imaging. Changes in the cases led to removal from their cases in July 2001, preservation treatment by conservators, and installment in new encasements for public display in September 2003.[3][4][5] Original errata[edit] During its first century, the parchment "Copy of the Constitution" was not directly viewed for public purposes, and most of the penned copies sent to the states are lost.[6] But on inspection of one of the remaining copies held at the National Archives, there is an apparent spelling error in the original parchment Constitution, in the so-called Export Clause of Article 1, Section 10 on page 2, where the possessive pronoun its appears to be spelled with an apostrophe, turning it into it's.[7] However, the letters t and s are connected, and the mark interpreted as an apostrophe is somewhat inconspicuous; different U.S. government sources have transcribed this phrase with and without the apostrophe.[8][9] The spelling Pensylvania is used in the list of signatories at the bottom of page 4 of the original document. Elsewhere, in Article 1, Section 2, the spelling that is usual today, Pennsylvania, is used. However, in the late 18th century, the use of a single n to spell "Pennsylvania" was common usage — the Liberty Bell's inscription, for example, uses a single n.[7] Bill of Rights[edit] Main article: United States Bill of Rights Formation of the Union documents[edit] The "Formation of the Union" display contains documents related to the evolution of the U.S. government from 1774 to 1791. Articles of Association (1774)[edit] Main article: Continental Association Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
(1778)[edit] Main article: Articles of Confederation Treaty of Paris (1783)[edit] Main article: Treaty of Paris (1783) Washington’s Inaugural Address[edit] Main article: First inauguration of George Washington References[edit]

^ Wood, Gordon S., Dusting off the Declaration, The New York Review of Books, Aug 14, 1997 ^ a b c National Park Service, Signers of the Constitution: Text and History Books on line series, viewed September 18, 2011. ^ Since 1987, inspections were enhanced by an electronic imaging monitoring system developed for NARA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. In 1995, conservators noticed changes in the glass encasements of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Glass experts from Libby-Owens-Ford (the original manufacturer of the encasement glass) and the Corning Glass Museum identified signs of deterioration. Both the glass experts and the National Archives Advisory Committee on Preservation recommended that the Charters be re-encased by 2002 for document safety. (NARA website) ^ National Archives publication, Archives building history. Viewed August 19, 2011. ^ The Archives were set up by Franklin Roosevelt in 1934. It keeps 1-3% of government documents to be kept forever. These are over 9 billion text records, 20 million photographs, 7 million maps, charts, and architectural drawings and over 365,000 reels of film. The monumental Archives Building was inadequate by the 1960s, so new facilities were built in College Park, MD. Work on electronic archives progresses. Fitzpatrick, Laura., A Brief History of The National Archives, Thursday, May 21, 2009. Viewed August 19, 2011. ^ National Park Service, Signers of the Constitution: Text and History Books on line series, viewed September 18, 2011. Although there is a case of textual examination by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and others in 1823 for reference in a political dispute over punctuation due to the many copies and editions available. The Archives also holds an original parchment of the Bill of Rights, "differing only in such details as handwriting, capitalization, and lineation" with those sent out to the states, few of which survive. ^ a b Misspellings in the U.S. Constitution. U.S. Constitution Online. ^ Transcription using it's with an apostrophe: "The United States Constitution" Archived 2010-01-29 at the Wayback Machine.. U.S. House of Representatives. ^ Transcription using its without an apostrophe: "Constitution of the United States". U.S. Senate.

External links[edit]

The Charters of Freedom
Charters of Freedom
at the U.S. National Archives

v t e

Historical documents of the United States

Constitution

Preamble & Articles

Preamble I II III IV V VI VII

Amendments

Ratified

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Pending

Congressional Apportionment Titles of Nobility Corwin (State Domestic Institutions) Child Labor

Unsuccessful

Equal Rights District of Columbia Voting Rights

See also

List of Constitutional Amendments Bill of Rights (Amendments 1–10) Reconstruction Amendments
Reconstruction Amendments
(Amendments 13–15) Amendment proposals in Congress Conventions to propose amendments State ratifying conventions

Formation

History Articles of Confederation Mount Vernon Conference Annapolis Convention Philadelphia Convention

Virginia
Virginia
Plan New Jersey
New Jersey
Plan Connecticut
Connecticut
Compromise Three-Fifths Compromise Committee of Detail Signing Independence Hall Syng inkstand

The Federalist Papers Anti-Federalist Papers Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Compromise Virginia
Virginia
Ratifying Convention Hillsborough Convention Drafting and ratification timeline

Clauses

Appointments Appropriations Assistance of Counsel Bill of credit Case or Controversy Citizenship Commerce Compact Compulsory Process Confrontation Contract Copyright and Patent Double Jeopardy Due Process Equal Protection Establishment Exceptions Excessive Bail Ex post facto Extradition Free Exercise Free Speech Fugitive Slave Full Faith and Credit General Welfare Guarantee Impeachment Import-Export Ineligibility (Emolument) Militia Natural-born citizen Necessary and Proper New States No Religious Test Oath or Affirmation Origination Petition Postal Presentment Privileges and Immunities Privileges or Immunities Recommendation Self-Incrimination Speech or Debate Speedy Trial State of the Union Supremacy Suspension Take Care Takings Taxing and Spending Territorial Title of Nobility Treaty Trial by Jury Vesting Vicinage War Powers List of clauses

Interpretation

Concurrent powers Congressional enforcement Constitutional law Criminal procedure Criminal sentencing Dormant Commerce Clause Enumerated powers Equal footing Executive privilege Incorporation of the Bill of Rights Judicial review Nondelegation doctrine Preemption Saxbe fix Separation of church and state Separation of powers Taxation power Unitary executive theory

Signatories

Convention President

George Washington

New Hampshire

John Langdon Nicholas Gilman

Massachusetts

Nathaniel Gorham Rufus King

Connecticut

William Samuel Johnson Roger Sherman

New York

Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey

William Livingston David Brearley William Paterson Jonathan Dayton

Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin Thomas Mifflin Robert Morris George Clymer Thomas Fitzsimons Jared Ingersoll James Wilson Gouverneur Morris

Delaware

George Read Gunning Bedford Jr. John Dickinson Richard Bassett Jacob Broom

Maryland

James McHenry Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Daniel Carroll

Virginia

John Blair James Madison

North Carolina

William Blount Richard Dobbs Spaight Hugh Williamson

South Carolina

John Rutledge Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Pinckney Pierce Butler

Georgia

William Few Abraham Baldwin

Convention Secretary

William Jackson

Display and legacy

National Archives

Charters of Freedom
Charters of Freedom
Rotunda

Independence Mall Constitution Day Constitution Gardens National Constitution Center Scene at the Signing of the Constitution (painting) A More Perfect Union (film) Worldwide influence

Declaration of Independence

Primary author

Thomas Jefferson

Signatories

President of Congress

John Hancock
John Hancock
(Massachusetts)

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett William Whipple Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts

Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins William Ellery

Connecticut

Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington William Williams Oliver Wolcott

New York

William Floyd Philip Livingston Francis Lewis Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton John Witherspoon Francis Hopkinson John Hart Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris Benjamin Rush Benjamin Franklin John Morton George Clymer James Smith George Taylor James Wilson George Ross

Delaware

George Read Caesar Rodney Thomas McKean

Maryland

Samuel Chase William Paca Thomas Stone Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia

George Wythe Richard Henry Lee Thomas Jefferson Benjamin Harrison Thomas Nelson Jr. Francis Lightfoot Lee Carter Braxton

North Carolina

William Hooper Joseph Hewes John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge Thomas Heyward Jr. Thomas Lynch Jr. Arthur Middleton

Georgia

Button Gwinett Lyman Hall George Walton

See also

Virginia
Virginia
Declaration of Rights Lee Resolution Committee of Five Document's history

signing portrait

Second Continental Congress "All men are created equal" "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" "Consent of the governed" Independence Hall

Syng inkstand

American Revolution

Articles of Confederation

Signatories

Primary drafter

John Dickinson

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett John Wentworth Jr.

Massachusetts

John Hancock Samuel Adams Elbridge Gerry Francis Dana James Lovell Samuel Holten

Rhode Island

William Ellery Henry Marchant John Collins

Connecticut

Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington Oliver Wolcott Titus Hosmer Andrew Adams

New York

James Duane Francis Lewis William Duer Gouverneur Morris

New Jersey

John Witherspoon Nathaniel Scudder

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris Daniel Roberdeau Jonathan Bayard Smith William Clingan Joseph Reed

Delaware

Thomas McKean John Dickinson Nicholas Van Dyke

Maryland

John Hanson Daniel Carroll

Virginia

Richard Henry Lee John Banister Thomas Adams John Harvie Francis Lightfoot Lee

North Carolina

John Penn Cornelius Harnett John Williams

South Carolina

Henry Laurens William Henry Drayton John Mathews Richard Hutson Thomas Heyward Jr.

Georgia

John Walton Edward Telfair Edward Langworthy

See also

Continental Congress Congress of the Confederation American Revolution Perpetual Union

Continental Association

Signatories

President of Congress

Peyton Randolph

New Hampshire

John Sullivan Nathaniel Folsom

Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Bay

Thomas Cushing Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins Samuel Ward

Connecticut

Eliphalet Dyer Roger Sherman Silas Deane

New York

Isaac Low John Alsop John Jay James Duane Philip Livingston William Floyd Henry Wisner Simon Boerum

New Jersey

James Kinsey William Livingston Stephen Crane Richard Smith John De Hart

Pennsylvania

Joseph Galloway John Dickinson Charles Humphreys Thomas Mifflin Edward Biddle John Morton George Ross

The Lower Counties

Caesar Rodney Thomas McKean George Read

Maryland

Matthew Tilghman Thomas Johnson, Junr William Paca Samuel Chase

Virginia

Richard Henry Lee George Washington Patrick Henry, Junr Richard Bland Benjamin Harrison Edmund Pendleton

North Carolina

William Hooper Joseph Hewes Richard Caswell

South Carolina

Henry Middleton Thomas Lynch Christopher Gadsden John Rutledge Edward Rutledge

See also

Virginia
Virginia
Association First Continental Congress Carpenters' Hall Declaration and Resolves of the First Continen

.