Lying in State of Congressman Elijah E. Cummings

The public is invited to pay their respects to Representative Elijah E. Cummings Thursday, October 24 from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. Please enter through the Capitol Visitor Center.

On Thursday, October 24, the Capitol Visitor Center will be closed for normal operations, and all Capitol tours are cancelled.

On Wednesday, October 23, the second floor of the Capitol will be closed to the public. The Capitol Visitor Center will offer modified tours of the Capitol.

If you have a tour reservation and would like to reschedule, please click here or contact the Visitor Services Office at (202)226-8000.

On Friday, October 25, the Capitol Visitor Center will reopen for normal operations and Capitol tours at 8:30 a.m.

Breaking Barriers to Creating the Nation

Breaking Barriers to Creating the Nation

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect ordain and establish this Constitution...

Preamble, Constitution of the United States

Creating an independent republic was a process of experiment, debate and compromise across the states and their delegates. The Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, which united the 13 original states but lacked centralized authority. In 1787, states called a Constitutional Convention to revise and amend the Articles. Instead, the Convention produced a new agreement of union––the U.S. Constitution. Opponents to the Constitution, fresh from the struggle against tyranny, insisted on protecting individual liberties, including the freedoms of speech, religion and assembly. In 1789 Congress proposed 12 amendments to the original U.S. Constitution. Ten of these were ratified by the states and became known as the Bill of Rights.