Why Is the Introduction to the U.S. Constitution Called "The Preamble"?

A preamble is a statement at the beginning of a legal document giving the reasoning for the parts that follow. The U.S. Constitution is a legal document, and its Preamble is the introduction outlining the framers' general goals of the Constitution, according to the National Constitution Center.

The Constitution is written in the hand of Gouverneur Morris, a delegate from Pennsylvania, who also is credited with authoring the Preamble and punctuating some of the clauses in the Constitution, states the White House. Subsequent copies of the Constitution were written in the hand of Jacob Shallus, a scribe and assistant clerk of the Pennsylvania legislature who wrote the engrossed copy in a fine round hand on parchment, according to the National Archives.

There were a number of errors and omissions in the Constitution, the most obvious error being the misspelling of Pennsylvania, which was spelled with only one n in the first syllable, the National Archives states. This error is attributed to Alexander Hamilton, who was in charge of obtaining each delegate's signature and made the mistake when he wrote out the state's name for Benjamin Franklin.

In 1847, William Hickey, a clerical staff member of the Senate, created a clean text of the Constitution for printing. This version was declared to be a standard edition after inspection by Secretary of State James Buchanan, according to the National Archives.