Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Preamble Song, an Illustrated Song (Plus Singable Art by Mike Wilkins)

Posted on: February 15, 2011

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preamble by lynn ahrens cover

Preamble Song
Preamble Text by Gouverneur Morris
Music and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
From SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK 

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preamble SBWE bw
Preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America
Sing this with THE PREAMBLE SONG from SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK 
Preamble Song
Preamble Text by Gouverneur Morris
Music and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Page Coordinated by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
To view or print this page, click here:
preamble SBWE bw

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preamble SBWE rb
Preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America
Sing this with THE PREAMBLE SONG from SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK 
Preamble Song
Preamble Text by Gouverneur Morris
Music and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Page Coordinated by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
To view or print this page, click here:
preamble SBWE rb

Note on my Preamble typography above:
I purposely typed the words as they are penned in the original document, with particular important words capitalized.  Click HERE to view the US National Archives scan of the original Constitution document.  You can zoom in to closely examine the beautiful penmanship of Jacob Shallus, A Pennsylvania General Assembly clerk.

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My kids and I recently visited the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum and we discovered a piece of Singable Art!

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Preamble (1987) by Mike Wilkins
Smithsonian American Art Museum
http://americanart.si.edu

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My children with the picture,

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We went to the National Portrait Gallery (which shares a building with the Smithsonian American Art Museum near Chinatown in Washington, DC) with the mission to see portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to commemorate President’s Day.  The woman seated at the Visitor’s Desk gave us the “must see artwork” short list for the museum, which included “Preamble.”  I’ve walked by that installation many times before and never knew what it was.  The artist collected licence plates from each of the 50 states with text and numbers that would spell out the Preamble to the Constitution.  You’ve got to work at it a little, but start at the beginning and The Preamble emerges.

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A short bio of Mike Wilkins on the Smithsonian American Art Museum Website, here:
http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artist/?id=5398

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SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK LIVE, SING ALONG WITH THE VIDEOS, WITH VOCALS OR INSTRUMENTAL

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The best part for me is that you can SING it!  Lynn Ahrens set “The Preamble” to music for SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK in 1976!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_NzZvdsbWI

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Sing-along with the PREAMBLE SONG backing track created for SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK LIVE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB7YZ7ZH68o

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Make Your Own License Plate Preamble Bulletin Board

This link includes a PDF with images of each of the license plates included in Mike Wilkins’ PREAMBLE.  You can cut each one out and assemble them on a bulletin board to create your own:
http://www.realclassroomideas.com/94.html

This is link to just he PDF:
http://www.realclassroomideas.com/resources/Bulletin+Boards-+License+Plate+Preamble.pdf

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Sing Mike Wilkins’ PREAMBLE with the Song FIFTY NIFTY STATES

Since Mike Wilkins’ PREAMBLE includes a licence plate for each state and they are arranged in alphabetical order, you an also use this work of art for singing the song Fifty Nifty States:
FIFTY NIFTY STATES, AN ILLUSTRATED SONG
Words and Music by Ray Charles
Book Assembled by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
This item is for classroom, home, or library use only.

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The Preamble Song (Preamble Excerpt)
Preamble Text by Gouverneur Morris
Music by Lynn Ahrens

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.

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A SMALL HITCH IN THE LYRICS AS OPPOSED TO THE PREAMBLE AS WRITTEN IN THE CONSTITUTION

The only hitch with the lyrics to Lynn Ahren’s musical setting of THE PREAMBLE is that the phrase, “of the United States” is left out after the famous words “We the People.”  You can insert the phrase by saying it out loud over the instrumental music in that spot or just take the pause.

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The Preamble to the United States Constitution
Words by Gouverneur Morris

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.

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Note that the text above is a cut/paste from:
http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html
This text reflects the spelling as hand written on the original copy of the United States Constitution that resides at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

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You can find “The Preamble” in Singable Picture Books,

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We the Kids (The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States)

Forward by David Catrow
Illustrated by David Catrow
Sing this with THE PREAMBLE SONG from SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK   (and FIFTY NIFTY STATES, too!)
Preamble Song
Preamble Text by Gouverneur Morris
Music and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
(More information about the song, here: http://www.schoolhouserock.tv/Preamble.html)

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The Constitution of the United States of America (With Benjamin Franklin’s Address to the Delegates Upon the Signing of the Constitution)
Inscribed and Illustrated by Sam Fink
The Preamble to the Constitution (which you can SING, thanks to Lynn Ahrens and School House Rock) is printed and illustrated in this AMAZING book.  It’s a tall, heavy book with fabulous illustrations which illuminate a complete printing of the US Constitution and includes a chronology of and historical information about constitutional creation.
You can hear a clip of Lynn Ahrens singing The Preamble, on Track 4 of this link:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/recsradio/radio/B0000033XR/ref=pd_krex_dp_001_004?ie=UTF8&track=004&disc=001

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preamble sam fink 3 - Copy
The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

Sing this with THE PREAMBLE SONG from SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK   (and FIFTY NIFTY STATES, too!)
Preamble Song
Preamble Text by Gouverneur Morris
Music and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Inscribed and Illustrated by Sam Fink
From: The Constitution of the United States of America (With Benjamin Franklin’s Address to the Delegates Upon the Signing of the Constitution)

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We the People (The Constitution of the United States of America)
Contains Singable Elements from the United States Constitution
Text by Peter Spier
Illustrated by Peter Spier

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THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION

To view the United States Constitution to read a transcript, click here:
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html

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PREAMBLE SONG (Full Text)
Words and Music by Lynn Ahrens
Preamble Text by Gouverneur Morris

From SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK

Hey, do you know about the U.S.A.?
Do you know about the government?
Can you tell me about the Constitution?
Hey, learn about the U.S.A.

In 1787 I’m told
Our founding fathers did agree
To write a list of principles
For keepin’ people free.

The U.S.A. was just startin’ out
A whole brand-new country
And so our people spelled it out
The things that we should be.

And they put those principles down on paper and called
it the Constitution, and it’s been helping us run our
country ever since then. The first part of the
Constitution is called the preamble and tells what
those founding fathers set out to do.

We the people
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.

In 1787 I’m told
Our founding fathers all sat down
And wrote a list of principles
That’s known the world around.

The U.S.A. was just starting out
A whole brand-new country
And so our people spelled it out
They wanted a land of liberty.

And the Preamble goes like this:

We the people
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.

For the United States of America.

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sign constitution howard chandler christy - Copy
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States
By Howard Chandler Christy. Painted in 1940.
On display in the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States
The wiki article includes a legend for the painting to identify each of the signers featured in the painting.

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Addendum 1/9/2013
Preamble Song, a Girl Scout Song for Troop 2740

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Preamble Song GSSLyrics
The Preamble Song (Preamble Excerpt)
Words by Gouverneur Morris
Music by Lynn Ahrens
To view or print this page, click here:
Preamble Song GSSLyrics

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Related Posts

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Schoolhouse Rock Singable Picture Books

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/school-house-rock-singable-picture-books-but-just-a-few/

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Preamble (1987) by Mike Wilkins, Singable Art…and We The Kids, a Singable Picture Book

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/preamble-1987-by-mike-wilkins-singable-art/

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Fifty Nifty States, a Singable Picture Book

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/fifty-nifty-states-a-singable-picture-book/

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Preamble Song, a Girl Scout Song for Troop 2740
http://brownietroop2740.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/preamble-song-a-girl-scout-song-for-troop-2740/

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SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS OF ILLUSTRATOR DAVID CATROW
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/the-singable-picture-books-of-illustrator-david-catrow/

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PETER SPIER
The Singable Picture Books of Peter Spier
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/singable-picture-books-of-peter-spier/

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FOURTH OF JULY AND OTHER HOLIDAYS CELEBRATING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND HER CITIZENS AND HISTORY
A list of Patriotic Singable Picture Books
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/a-patriotic-list-of-singable-books-for-july-4th/

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SAM FINK
The Singable Picture Books of Illustrator Sam Fink
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/the-singable-picture-books-of-sam-fink/

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Preamble Song (some additions to the collection)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/preamble-song-some-additions-to-the-collection/

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SING-ALONG RESOURCES AND PRINTABLE MATERIALS
This is the place to find Print Materials Created by Emily
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/sing-along-resources-2/

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