Celebrating the 225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights

Cross-posted with the ConSource blog.

According to a survey released last year, 1 in 10 Americans think the Bill of Rights includes the right to own a pet? It does not.

This statistic underscores the need for Americans to study the Bill of Rights.

Thursday, December 15 marks the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. 

We hope you will join with ConSource and others as we use this historic milestone to celebrate and study the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791, when Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve the 10 amendments that came to be known as our Bill of Rights.

Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison in 1787 that “a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”

And, yet, the Constitution signed in September 1787 did not include a Bill of Rights.

To learn about how James Madison, who once called bills of rights “parchment barriers,” and the first federal Congress drafted the amendments we call the Bill of Rights, you can explore the legislative history of the Bill of Rights in the ConSource digital library.

You can also check out this concise history of the Bill of Rights written by our Executive Director Julie Silverbrook in the Washington Times special report celebrating the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.

Another great free resource is this filmed discussion between historian Carol Berkin and ConSource Executive Director Julie Silverbrook on the history of the Bill of Rights.

On the evening of Thursday, December 15, we will host a special Bill of Rights Day program with the National Archives on the Bill of Rights in the 21st Century. 

Moderated by Supreme Court correspondent Jess Bravin from the Wall Street Journal, panelists include Judge Thomas Griffith, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; Judge Patricia Millett, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; and Judge Andre M. Davis, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The program will be hosted at the National Archives (7th and Constitution Avenue, NW).

You can register to attend the program here, or, if you can’t join us in person, you can watch a livestream of the video here.

Wishing you a Happy Bill of Rights Day!

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