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Senate Revisions to the House Version of the Bill of Rights, September 9, 1789

This document shows the changes the Senate made to the amendments passed by the House. Representative James Madison reduced over 200 suggested amendments to 19, of which the House approved 17. The Senate combined articles and revised text, reducing the 17 to the 12 that, after being passed by both houses, were sent to the states for ratification. The states ratified 10 of the amendments—today’s Bill of Rights, which became effective on December 15, 1791.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Senate Revisions to the House Version of the Bill of Rights Senate Revisions to the House Version of the Bill of Rights Senate Revisions to the House Version of the Bill of Rights

Drafting the Bill of Rights - 1

The first Congress wrote the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. Known as the Bill of Rights, they are part of the bedrock of our national government. The amendments guarantee citizens’ individual rights and liberties. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention had disagreed over the wisdom of naming such rights within the Constitution, but members of the First Congress, fresh from the struggle against monarchy, insisted on limiting the powers of a central government within a republic.