December 15th, 1791

bill_of_rightsToday marks a significant day in our history. On December 15th, 1791 the Great Charter of our Individual Rights, the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments of the Constitution, was ratified. When it was sent by the House to the Senate it was a slightly different document than we know today. Leaning heavily on the Virginia Bill of Rights, authored by George Mason, one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention who refused to sign the Constitution, the House sent 17 amendments to the Senate. The Senate, in turn, approved 12 to send to the States, who approved ten, those ten we now know today. It’s perhaps significant to note that despite James Madison leaning so heavily on Mason’s work, Virginia was the last state to ratify, which they did 225 years ago today. It’s funny to consider that the Constitution itself, the Charter of our Political Rights, was only really accepted by many with the promise that when the first Congress convened it offer a Bill of Rights. The promise of politicians and the assurances that they make may not be worth much to us today, but in those early days of the Republic they took this great experiment in self government so seriously that they would not have sought to break such a solemn oath to the people. Perhaps it is a lesson our politicians should draw from today.

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