10 Interesting Facts about the Bill of Rights

One of these following facts about the Bill of Rights should probably give you much information about it. The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed to assuage the fears of Anti-Federalist who had opposed Constitutional ratification, these amendments guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. Furthermore, to get you to know more about the rights, below are some other facts about the Bill of Rights you might be consider important.

Facts about the Bill of Rights 1: Tacked onto the Constitution

The Bill of Rights was tacked onto the Constitution just three years after its ratification in June 1788. Essentially, anti-Federalist delegates objected to the proposed draft, arguing that it provided a framework for a new centralized government but failed to safeguard individual liberties and states’ rights. They finally agreed to ratify the Constitution on the condition that Congress amend the document to include these protections.

Facts about the Bill of Rights 2: Drafting

While drafting the Bill of Rights, James Madison drew heavily on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason and ratified shortly before the Constitution of Virginia in June 1776. Considered the first constitutional protection of individual rights, it also provided a blueprint for the U.S. Declaration of Independence and France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

Facts about the Bill of Rights - George Washington's letter

Facts about the Bill of Rights – George Washington’s letter

Facts about the Bill of Rights 3: Bill of Rights of 1689

Since America’s founding fathers had just spent years fighting for independence from Britain, it might seem ironic that an English law—the Bill of Rights of 1689—served as another inspiration for the U.S. Bill of Rights. The two documents share a number of guarantees, including the right to petition and protection again “cruel and unusual punishments”.

Facts about the Bill of Rights 4: James Madison

James Madison was an unlikely author of the proposed amendments that eventually became the Bill of Rights. He initially argued that the Constitution itself sufficiently restricted the federal government and that Americans inherently enjoyed natural rights even in the absence of laws ensuring them. Madison’s mentor Thomas Jefferson, who was then serving as ambassador to France, helped convince him of their necessity in 1789.

Facts about the Bill of Rights - Great Seal of the United States

Facts about the Bill of Rights – Great Seal of the United States

Facts about the Bill of Rights 5: Inclusive Wording

Despite its seemingly inclusive wording, the Bill of Rights did not apply to all Americans—and it wouldn’t for more than 130 years. At the time of its ratification, the “people” referenced in the amendments were understood to be land-owning white men only. Blacks only received equal protection under the law in 1868, and even then it was purely on paper. Women couldn’t vote in all states before 1920, and Native Americans did not achieve full citizenship until 1924.

Facts about the Bill of Rights 6: Twelve Amendments

The original Bill of Rights included 12 amendments, but only 10 became law in 1791. One of the omitted articles, which deals with the size of electoral districts, has yet to be ratified. The other, which prohibits pay raises for Congress members until the next election takes place, was ratified in 1992 as the 27th Amendment.

Facts about the Bill of Rights - James Madison

Facts about the Bill of Rights – James Madison

Facts about the Bill of Rights 7: Copies of Bill of Rights

George Washington commissioned 14 handwritten copies of the Bill of Rights—one for each of the original 13 colonies and one for Congress. Twelve of the originals survive to this day. North Carolina’s copy disappeared during the Civil War when a Union soldier took it home as a souvenir; it resurfaced in 2003 thanks to the efforts of an undercover FBI agent.

Facts about the Bill of Rights 8: Bill of Rights Day

About 150 years after the Bill of Rights became law, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on the American people to observe December 15 as Bill of Rights Day. Just days after he made his speech, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and celebrations were cancelled. Though relatively obscure, it remains a federal holiday.

Facts about the Bill of Rights - Patrick Henry

Facts about the Bill of Rights – Patrick Henry

Facts about the Bill of Rights 9: Article One

On May 7, 1992, after an unprecedented period of 202 years, 225 days, Article Two crossed the Constitutional threshold for ratification and became the Twenty-seventh Amendment. As a result, Article One alone remains unratified and still pending before the states.

Facts about the Bill of Rights 10: National Archives in Washington D.C

The Bill of Rights had little judicial impact for the first 150 years of its existence, but was the basis for many Supreme Court decisions of the 20th and 21st centuries. One of the first fourteen copies of the Bill of Rights is on public display at the National Archive in Washington D.C.

Facts about the Bill of Rights - The Bill of Rights

Facts about the Bill of Rights – The Bill of Rights

Hope you would find those Bill of Rights facts really interesting, useful and helpful for your additional reading.

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