Today, September 25, 1789: Bill of Rights Approved by Congress

When the US Constitution was drafted and approved, there was a division among the Framers and members of Congress. Federalists believed in a strong centralized federal government and the anti-Federalists believed in a small federal government with the majority of power and rights belonging to the individual States.

Upon ratification of the Constitution, some of the states and their members of Congress were still concerned about States and individual rights that were not spelled out in the Constitution.

At the same time, George Mason, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Virginia wrote a Virginia Declaration of Rights that did spell out many rights of the individual citizen.

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Also part of the Constitutional Convention was James Madison, another delegate from Virginia. Madison is credited as the main author of the US Constitution and one of the three principle authors of the Federalist Papers. Madison was impressed and influenced with Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights as well as the 1689 English Bill of Rights and used them to draft most of what became the Bill of Rights while serving as a US Representative from Virginia.

Madison had gone back over the approved draft of the US Constitution and made notes of recommended changes, but others objected to any changes claiming that it was too late to change the actual Constitution. Instead, Madison drafted a number of amendments to the Constitution and presented them to the House of Representatives where 17 of the amendments were approved and sent on to the Senate.

On this day, September 25, 1789, the Senate approved 12 of the 17 amendments. From there, the amendments were sent on to the States for approval.

On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the 10th of the 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments approved by the Senate. Upon Virginia’s approval, the Bill of Rights was ratified and officially became part of American law. If you’ve never truly read the Bill of Rights, I highly advise you do so and then start standing up to protect them.


Sources for the above includes: The Bill of Rights; Bill of Rights of the United States of America (1791); Bill of Rights Passes Congress; The Bill of Rights: Its History and Significance; The Bill of Rights: A Brief History; The Origins of the Bill of Rights by Amendment; The Bill of Rights

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