Happy Bill of Rights Day!
December 15, 2023
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 to 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 American people.
Did you know? Without a bill of rights, the Constitution likely wouldn’t have been adopted. Though federalists were confident in the Constitution’s plan for limited government, many still worried that the proposed federal government would be too strong in its powers without some declaration of the people’s rights.
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 pay cut (later ratified as the 27th Amendment 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!
The Bill of Rights display on the Freedom Train, National Archives 12167308, October 20, 1948