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of the states had ratified 10 of these, now known as the “Bill of Rights.”The Bill of Rights: How Was it Made?Creating the Parchment Bill of RightsWilliam Lambert and Benjamin Bankson, engrossing clerks for the House and Senate, made 14 handwritten copies of the proposed amendments, which were signed by Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg, Vice President John Adams, Clerk of the House of Representatives John Beckley, and Secretary of State Samuel A. Otis. President George Washington sent a letter enclosing one to each of the 11 existing states and to Rhode Island and North Carolina, which had not yet adopted the Constitution.In addition to the file copy, the National Archives has Delaware's copy of the Bill of Rights in its holdings. While most states notified the Federal Government of their ratifications of the amendments on a separate document, Delaware chose to apply its certificate of ratification and state seal directly on the parchment they had received.Constitution of the United States—A HistoryA More Perfect Union: The Creation of the U.S. ConstitutionMay 25, 1787, freshly spread dirt covered the cobblestone street in front of the Pennsylvania State House, protecting the men inside from the sound of passing carriages and carts. Guards stood at the entrances to ensure that the curious were kept 2
at a distance. Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, the "financier" of the Revolution, opened the proceedings with a nomination--Gen. George Washington for the presidency of the Constitutional Convention. The vote was unanimous. With characteristic ceremonial modesty, the general expressed his embarrassment at his lack of qualifications to preside over such an august body and apologized for any errors into which he might fall in the course of its deliberations.To many of those assembled, especially to the small, boyish-looking, 36-year-old delegate from Virginia, James Madison, the general's mere presence boded well for the convention, for the illustrious Washington gave to the gathering an air of importance andlegitimacy But his decision to attend the convention had been an agonizing one. The Father of the Country had almost remained at home.Suffering from rheumatism, despondent over the loss of a brother, absorbed in the management of Mount Vernon, and doubting that the convention would accomplish verymuch or that many men of stature would attend, Washington delayed accepting the invitation to attend for several months. Torn between the hazards of lending his reputation to a gathering perhaps doomed to failure and the chance that the public