United States Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution . Proposed following the oftentimes bitter 1787–88 battle over ratifi- cation of the U.S. Constitution, and crafted to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists , the Bill of Rights amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights , clear limitations on the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people . The concepts codified in these amendments are built upon those found in several earlier documents, including the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the English Bill of Rights 1689 , along with earlier documents such as Magna Carta (1215). On June 8, 1789, Representative James Madison intro- duced a series of thirty-nine amendments to the consti- tution in the House of Representatives . Among his rec- ommendations Madison proposed opening up the Con- stitution and inserting specific rights limiting the power of Congress in Article One, Section 9 . Seven of these limitations would become part of the ten ratified Bill of Rights amendments. Ultimately, on September 25, 1789, Congress approved twelve articles of amendment to the Constitution and submitted them to the states for ratification . Contrary to Madison’s original proposal that the articles be incorporated into the main body of the Constitution, they were proposed as supplemental addi- tions (codicils) to it. Articles Three through Twelve were ratified as additions to the Constitution on December 15, 1791, and became Amendments One through Ten of the Constitution. Article Two became part of the Consti- tution on May 7, 1992, as the Twenty-seventh Amend- ment .  Article One is technically still pending before the states. Originally the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government. The door for their application upon state governments was opened in the 1860s, following ratifica- tion of the Fourteenth Amendment . Since the early 20th century both federal and state courts have used the Four- teenth Amendment to apply portions of the Bill of Rights to state and local governments. The process is known as incorporation .  There are several original engrossed copies of the Bill of Rights still in existence. One of these is on permanent public display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C . 1 Background 1.1 The Philadelphia Convention Main article: Constitutional Convention (United States) Prior to the ratification and implementation of the United States Constitution , the thirteen sovereign states followed the Articles of Confederation , created by the Second Continental Congress and ratified in 1781. However, the national government that operated under the Arti- cles of Confederation was too weak to adequately regu- late the various conﬂicts that arose between the states.
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