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Happy Bill of Rights Day!
December 15, 2023
|Recurring Event (See all)
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 15 of December, repeating indefinitely
Happy Bill of Rights Day! On this day in 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified, consisting of the first ten amendments in our Constitution. Inspired by such documents as the Magna Carta and Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Bill of Rights explicitly protected such basic American rights as freedom of speech, religion, and assembly, and reserved all powers that hadn’t been delegated to the federal government to the people.
Did you know? During the creation of the Constitution, Federalists initially opposed the addition of a bill of rights. They feared that an explicit listing of rights was unnecessary (as the Constitution itself was a plan of limited government) and would indicate a limit on citizens’ rights.
Without a bill of rights however, the Constitution likely wouldn’t have been adopted. Many worried that the new proposed federal government would be too strong and overreaching in its powers.
There were originally 12 (not 10!) amendments proposed in the Bill of Rights. What extra two were ultimately excluded? A rule for representative apportionment and a restriction on Congress’s ability to give itself a raise or paycut (later ratified in 1992).
Some states waited a long time to ratify the Bill of Rights – Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Georgia didn’t ratify the Bill of Rights until 1939 (!)
A trompe l’oeil with plumes in an ink bottle, Heiman Dullaart, 17th century
-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer