What Are Some Facts About the Bill of Rights?


Quick Answer

The Bill of Rights contained 12 amendment proposals when it was sent to the state legislatures, 10 of which were adopted and became the first 10 amendments of the Constitution. Congress had 14 copies made, one for the federal government and 13 to be distributed among the original 13 states.

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Full Answer

Documents that influenced the Bill of Rights include the Magna Carta, the 1689 English Bill of Rights and George Mason's 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights. James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights. His proposal included 19 amendments. The House of Representatives reduced the proposal to 17 amendments, and the Senate reduced it to 12.

The states rejected the first two amendments in this proposal. The first amendment was about the number and apportionment of U.S. Representatives. The second placed limitations on the ability of members of Congress to increase their own pay. This was added to the Constitution more than 200 years later and became the 27th Amendment.

George Mason was the first to suggest a bill of rights. His proposal was unanimously rejected for multiple reasons, one of which may have been the delegates desire to finish the Constitutional Convention after spending four months on it already. However, this led to three delegates not signing the Constitution, and several states only ratified it under the condition that a bill of rights was added.

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