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Constitution of the United States: Bill of Rights and Amendments

Information about the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. System of Government, Legal Research, and Constitution Day.

The Bill of Rights and Amendments

James Madison standing next to a table and pointing to a partially unrolled scroll of paper

James Madison introduced 12 amendments to the First Congress in 1789. Ten of these would go on to become what we now consider to be the Bill of Rights. One was never passed, while another dealing with Congressional salaries was not ratified until 1992, when it became the 27th Amendment. Based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the English Bill of Rights, the writings of the Enlightenment, and the rights defined in the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights contains rights that many today consider to be fundamental to America.

Reading of the Constitution

Thurgood Marshall, Jr reads Article V at People For the American Way Foundation's 2009 Inaugural Reading of the Constitution at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The event was held on January 18, 2009.

Books about the Bills of Rights and Amendments

Recommended Websites about The Bill of Rights and Amendments

Eleventh Amendment and the Nature of the Union

The Eleventh Amendment and the Nature of the Union discusses reasons for drafting the Constitution rather than amending the Articles of Confederation, and the need for the Bill of Rights and the 11th Amendment.  Download the article here.