In 1787, the young United States was suffering from a governmental crisis. The original form of government created to unite the 13 states did not work well, and it was clear that something new was needed. In Philadelphia, representatives of the states met to create a new system of government. The document they produced, the U.S. Constitution, remains the framework for our government more than 225 years later. The U.S. Constitution sets out the duties of the various branches of the federal government, as well as the powers reserved by the states. It also delineates the rights that every individual possesses. To understand what being an American means, all citizens should understand the U.S. Constitution.