The Bill of Rights
Page of the original copy of the Bill of Rights. Transcription of the Bill of Rights.


The Bill of Rights


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The Bill of Rights


  • The Bill of Rights was first introduced in 1789 and became effective on December 15, 1791.

    In the United States, the Bill of Rights is the name by which the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known. They were introduced by James Madison to the First United States Congress in 1789 as a series of articles, and came into effect on December 15, 1791, when they had been ratified by three-fourths of the States. Thomas Jefferson was a proponent of the Bill of Rights. Madison proposed the Bill of Rights while ideological conflict between Federalists and anti-Federalists, dating from the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, threatened the overall ratification of the new national Constitution. It largely responded to the Constitution's influential opponents, including prominent Founding Fathers, who argued that the Constitution should not be ratified because it failed to protect the basic principles of human liberty. The Bill of Rights plays a central role in American law and government, and remains a fundamental symbol of the freedoms and culture of the nation.
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