Where Can You Find a Copy of James Madison's Bill of Rights?


Quick Answer

The Bill of Rights written by James Madison comprises the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution and is found on every copy of the Constitution. Readers can access a copy of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights on the website of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

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Full Answer

Although the Bill of Rights was not part of the original Constitution, some states agreed to ratify the Constitution only with the stipulation that a Bill of Rights would be added. James Madison initially considered the original Constitution sufficient protection of individual rights, But Thomas Jefferson persuaded him that writing out the Bill of Rights was necessary. When Madison wrote the amendments that became the Bill of Rights during the First Congress, he modeled them closely on the Virginia Declaration of Rights written by George Mason.

In September 1789, the First Congress of the United States presented 12 Constitutional amendments to the states for ratification. By Dec. 15, 1791, the states ratified amendments 3 through 12, and these became the Bill of Rights. The first proposed amendment, having to do with the size of electoral districts, was never ratified. The second amendment, concerning pay raises for members of Congress, was ratified 203 years later in 1992.

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