On June 5, 1788, Patrick Henry spoke before Virginia's ratification convention in opposition to 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
James Madison, primary author and chief advocate for the Bill of Rights in the First Congress

The Supreme Court previously held, in Barron v. Baltimore, that the Constitution's Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government, that states were free to enforce statutes that restricted the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and that the federal courts could not interfere with the enforcement of such statutes.

- Gitlow v. New York

In the twentieth century, however, most of the Bill's provisions were applied to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment—a process known as incorporation—beginning with the freedom of speech clause, in Gitlow v. New York (1925).

- United States Bill of Rights

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Incorporation of the Bill of Rights

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

The doctrine of incorporation has been traced back to either Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad v. City of Chicago (1897) in which the Supreme Court appeared to require some form of just compensation for property appropriated by state or local authorities (although there was a state statute on the books that provided the same guarantee) or, more commonly, to Gitlow v. New York (1925), in which the Court expressly held that States were bound to protect freedom of speech.

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

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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Adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.

Adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.

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 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.

1925: Gitlow v. New York