Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights protects freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly, among many other rights.
In June of 1789, James Madison proposed 19 amendments to the U. S. Constitution.
The House of Representatives passed a joint resolution containing 17 amendments.
The House and Senate compromised and on September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States agreed on 12 articles of amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
On October 2, 1789, President Washington sent copies of the 12 articles of amendments adopted by Congress to the states for ratification.
10 of the proposed 12 articles of amendments were ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures when Virginia became the eleventh state to ratify the articles of amendments on December 15, 1791.
The ratified articles (articles 3 through 12) constitute the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution known as the U.S. Bill of Rights.
In 1992, 203 years after it was proposed, article two was ratified as the 27th amendment to the Constitution. Article one has never been ratified.
The actual 1789 joint Resolution of Congress proposing the articles of amendments is on display in the Rotunda of the National Archives Museum located in Washington, DC.
Federalists favored a strong national government and believed that the Constitution did not need a Bill of Rights, since the Constitution already provided any powers not given to the Federal government remained with the people and the states.
Anti-Federalists wanted power to remain with state and local governments and believed that a Bill of Rights was required to protect individual freedoms.
James Madison, as a representative in the House of Representatives, revised the wording of the Constitution as he thought necessary.
Other representatives were opposed to this, arguing that Congress could not change the wording of the Constitution.
Therefore, Madison's proposed changes became a list of Constitutional amendments to follow Article VII of the U.S. Constitution.
The Bill of Rights are as follows:
- Amendment 1: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly and Petition
- Amendment 2: The Right to Bear Arms
- Amendment 3: The Housing of Soldiers (quartering)
- Amendment 4: Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
- Amendment 5: Protection of rights in Life, Liberty, and Property
- Amendment 6: Rights of Accused Persons in Criminal Cases
- Amendment 7: Rights in Civil Cases
- Amendment 8: Excessive Bail, Fines, and Punishments Forbidden
- Amendment 9: Other Rights of Citizens
- Amendment 10: Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the states