Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.
Signing of the Constitution, September 17, 1787 (1940 by Howard Chandler Christy)
On June 5, 1788, Patrick Henry spoke before Virginia's ratification convention in opposition to the Constitution.
Dates the 13 states ratified the Constitution
George Washington's 1788 letter to the Marquis de Lafayette observed, "the Convention of Massachusetts adopted the Constitution in toto; but recommended a number of specific alterations and quieting explanations." Source: Library of Congress
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James Madison, primary author and chief advocate for the Bill of Rights in the First Congress
"We the People" in an original edition
Closing endorsement section of the United States Constitution
United States Bill of Rights
Currently housed in the National Archives.
John Jay, 1789–1795
John Marshall, 1801–1835
Salmon P. Chase {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Chase Court, 1864–1873, in 1865 were Salmon P. Chase (chief Justice); Hon. Nathan Clifford, Maine; Stephen J. Field, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Hon. Samuel F. Miller, U.S. Supreme Court; Hon. Noah H. Swayne, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Judge Morrison R. Waite}}
William Howard Taft {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Taft Court, 1921–1930, in 1925 were James Clark McReynolds, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., William Howard Taft (chief justice), Willis Van Devanter, Louis Brandeis. Edward Sanford, George Sutherland, Pierce Butler, Harlan Fiske Stone}}
Earl Warren {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Warren Court, 1953–1969, in 1963 were Felix Frankfurter; Hugo Black; Earl Warren (chief justice); Stanley Reed; William O. Douglas. Tom Clark; Robert H. Jackson; Harold Burton; Sherman Minton}}
William Rehnquist {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Rehnquist Court, 1986–2005.}}
José Rizal
Sun Yat-sen

The United States Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

- United States Bill of Rights

In general, the first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, offer specific protections of individual liberty and justice and place restrictions on the powers of government.

- Constitution of the United States
Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

22 related topics

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Portrait by John Vanderlyn, 1816

James Madison

American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

Portrait by John Vanderlyn, 1816
Madison's Birthplace
Madison at Princeton, portrait by James Sharples
Congressional delegate Madison, age 32 by Charles Willson Peale
page one of the original copy
of the U.S. Constitution
Gouverneur Morris signs the Constitution before George Washington. Madison sits next to Robert Morris, in front of Benjamin Franklin. Painting by John Henry Hintermeister, 1925.
Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican Party with Madison.
Montpelier, Madison's tobacco plantation in Virginia
The 1803 Louisiana Purchase totaled 827,987 sqmi, doubling the size of the United States.
James Madison by Gilbert Stuart,
1808 electoral vote results
James Madison engraving by David Edwin from between 1809 and 1817
USS Constitution defeats HMS Guerriere, a significant event during the war. U.S. nautical victories boosted American morale.
The British set ablaze the U.S. Capital on August 24, 1814.
Battle of New Orleans. 1815
Battle of Tippecanoe November 7, 1811
Portrait of James Madison c. 1821, by Gilbert Stuart
Madison's gravestone at Montpelier
Portrait of Madison, age 82, c. 1833
A life-sized statue of Madison at James Madison University.

He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause
Rep. John Bingham of Ohio was the principal author of the Equal Protection Clause
Thurgood Marshall served as chief counsel in the landmark Fourteenth Amendment decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Senate and House votes on the Fourteenth Amendment
Form of the Letter of Transmittal of the Fourteenth Amendment to the several states for its ratification

The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.

The Supreme Court has ruled this clause makes most of the Bill of Rights as applicable to the states as it is to the federal government, as well as to recognize substantive and procedural requirements that state laws must satisfy.

1st United States Congress

The 1st United States Congress, comprising the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, met from March 4, 1789, to March 4, 1791, during the first two years of George Washington's presidency, first at Federal Hall in New York City and later at Congress Hall in Philadelphia.

The 1st United States Congress, comprising the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, met from March 4, 1789, to March 4, 1791, during the first two years of George Washington's presidency, first at Federal Hall in New York City and later at Congress Hall in Philadelphia.

Congress Hall in Philadelphia, meeting place of this Congress's third session.
Statue of George Washington in front of Federal Hall, where he was first inaugurated as president.
Senate President John Adams
Senate President pro tempore John Langdon
Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania
Beginning of the Congress
End of the Congress
Beginning of the Congress
End of the Congress

With the initial meeting of the First Congress, the United States federal government officially began operations under the new (and current) frame of government established by the 1787 Constitution.

Twelve articles of amendment to the Constitution were passed by this Congress and sent to the states for ratification; the ten ratified as additions to the Constitution on December 15, 1791, are collectively known as the Bill of Rights, with an additional amendment ratified more than two centuries later to become the Twenty-seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Constitution of the United States

Incorporation of the Bill of Rights

Constitution of the United States

Incorporation, in United States law, is the doctrine by which portions of the Bill of Rights have been made applicable to the states.

The United States Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

James Madison, drafter of the Bill of Rights, by John Vanderlyn

Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution

James Madison, drafter of the Bill of Rights, by John Vanderlyn
The Bill of Rights in the National Archives

The Fifth Amendment (Amendment V) to the United States Constitution addresses criminal procedure and other aspects of the Constitution.

It was ratified, along with nine other articles, in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights.

Title page of the first collection of The Federalist (1788). This particular volume was a gift from Alexander Hamilton's wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton to her sister Angelica

The Federalist Papers

Title page of the first collection of The Federalist (1788). This particular volume was a gift from Alexander Hamilton's wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton to her sister Angelica
Alexander Hamilton, author of the majority of The Federalist Papers
James Madison, Hamilton's major collaborator, later fourth President of the United States (1809-1817)
An advertisement for the book edition of The Federalist
John Jay, author of five of The Federalist Papers, later became the first Chief Justice of the United States

The Federalist Papers is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the collective pseudonym "Publius" to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution.

In Federalist No. 84, Hamilton makes the case that there is no need to amend the Constitution by adding a Bill of Rights, insisting that the various provisions in the proposed Constitution protecting liberty amount to a "bill of rights."

Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

Twenty-seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution

Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

The Twenty-seventh Amendment (Amendment XXVII) to the United States Constitution prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until after the next election of the House of Representatives has occurred.

The last ten Articles were ratified in 1791 to become the Bill of Rights, but the first two, the Twenty-seventh Amendment and the proposed Congressional Apportionment Amendment, were not ratified by enough states to come into force with them.

Earl Warren

American lawyer, politician, and jurist who served as the 14th Chief Justice of the United States from 1953 to 1969.

American lawyer, politician, and jurist who served as the 14th Chief Justice of the United States from 1953 to 1969.

Warren as a U.S. Army officer in 1918
The René C. Davidson Courthouse, the main courthouse of the Alameda County Superior Court, completed in 1934
California Attorney General
Warren as Governor of California
Governor Warren meets a young "gold miner" as part of the California centennials, 1948–50
Chief Justice Earl Warren
The Warren Court (1953–1969)
President Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Nina Elisabeth Meyers (Warren's wife), November 1963
An "Impeach Earl Warren sign", posted in San Francisco in October 1958
Earl Warren presents the Commission's report to President Johnson on September 24, 1964.
Chief Justice Warren swears in President Nixon on January 20, 1969.
Grave at Arlington National Cemetery
Warren bust, U.S. Supreme Court
Earl Warren Hall, University of California, Berkeley
Earl Warren Building, headquarters of California Supreme Court (San Francisco)

The Warren Court presided over a major shift in American constitutional jurisprudence, which has been recognized by many as a "Constitutional Revolution" in the liberal direction, with Warren writing the majority opinions in landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Reynolds v. Sims (1964), Miranda v. Arizona (1966) and Loving v. Virginia (1967).

Many of the Court's decisions incorporated the Bill of Rights, making the protections of the Bill of Rights apply to state and local governments.

States that ratified the amendment

Congressional Apportionment Amendment

States that ratified the amendment

The Congressional Apportionment Amendment (originally titled Article the First) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that addresses the number of seats in the House of Representatives.

The Congressional Apportionment Amendment is the only one of the twelve amendments passed by Congress which was never ratified; ten amendments were ratified as the Bill of Rights, while the other amendment (Article the Second) was ratified as the Twenty-seventh Amendment in 1992.

Magna Carta

Royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.

Royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.

King John on a stag hunt
A contemporaneous mural of Pope Innocent III
The Articles of the Barons, 1215, held by the British Library
The Charter of the Forest re-issued in 1225, held by the British Library
The 1225 version of Magna Carta issued by Henry III, held in the National Archives
1297 version of the Great Charter, on display in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
Magna carta cum statutis angliae ("Great Charter with English Statutes"), early 14th century
A version of the Charter of 1217, produced between 1437 and c. 1450
The jurist Edward Coke made extensive political use of Magna Carta.
The Leveller John Lilburne criticised Magna Carta as an inadequate definition of English liberties.
Magna Carta replica and display in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.
A romanticised 19th-century recreation of King John signing Magna Carta. Rather than signing in writing, the document would have been authenticated with the Great Seal and applied by officials rather than John himself.
The Magna Carta Memorial at Runnymede, designed by Sir Edward Maufe and erected by the American Bar Association in 1957. The memorial stands in the meadow known historically as Long Mede: it is likely that the actual site of the sealing of Magna Carta lay further east, towards Egham and Staines.
1733 engraving by John Pine of the 1215 charter (Cotton Charter XIII.31A)
1225 charter, held in the British Library, with the royal great seal attached
A 1297 copy of Magna Carta, owned by the Australian Government and on display in the Members' Hall of Parliament House, Canberra
A silver King John penny; much of Magna Carta concerned how royal revenues were raised.
King John holding a church, painted c. 1250–1259 by Matthew Paris

It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the United States Constitution, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States.

The document also continues to be honoured in the United States as an antecedent of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.