The 12 Articles of the Bill of Rights

By | May 5, 2010

It didn’t take long for Congress to start debate on Amendments to the United States Constitution. Congress first convened on March 4, 1789 and on June 8th of the same year James Madison read his thoughts regarding a Bill of Rights. During the course of debates though the ratification process of the Constitution many states express concerns that certain rights weren’t part of the Constitution.

Between June 8th and September 25, 1789, when the 12 proposed Amendments, the Bill of Rights, were submitted to the states, Congress compiled and debated the articles. First it was the house which used many of Madison’s proposals. The Senate modified them. On September 21, 1789 the House and the Senate together worked to resolved the differences, which was settled when the Senate passed them.

George Washington signed the resolution on October 2, 1789 and the proposed 12 amendments were sent to the 11 states that had already ratified the United States Constitution.

Each of the 12 articles would be voted on separately by states with an article being ratified when it received approval of three quarters of the states. Six weeks after receiving the Bill of Rights North Carolina ratified the Constitution. They had been holding out because it didn’t have individual rights guarantee. Also during the ratification process, Vermont was admitted to the United States and Rhode Island, the last of the original thirteen states, ratified the Constitution.

Virginia became the 11th and deciding state to ratified the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. They approved all 12 of the articles, but only Articles 3-14 were ratified. Article 1 had been rejected by Delaware while New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island had rejected Article 2.

Article 1 of the 12 original Amendment Articles will probably never be passed, it established a formula for the number of House representatives. Article 2, which simply stated, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” became the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution on May 5, 1992, over 202 years after original Congressional approval, when Missouri and Alabama became the 37th and 38th state to ratify it. Seven states ratified it after that date bringing the total to 45. New York, who rejected it in 1790, Nebraska with a 1987 rejection along with Massachusetts, Mississippi and Pennsylvania are the states who have not approved the Article.


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