What Happened in 1791?

The most significant historical event in 1791 was the ratification of the Bill of Rights, which is the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. In addition, Vermont became the 14th state to be admitted to the Union, and the first boundary stones were laid to mark off what would become the District of Columbia.

The Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution was ratified by Virginia on December 15, 1791, making it officially the law. The amendments were created to ensure basic rights to all citizens of the United States, and to protect freedoms of religion, assembly, press and speech. The Bill of Rights also gives citizens the right to bear arms and to have fair legal proceedings. Virginia was the 10th of 14 states to approve the Bill of Rights. With this ratification by Virginia, the bill had enough power to become legal, since it required a two-thirds majority for legalization.

Interestingly, there were 12 amendments originally in the bill, but two of them were not ratified. The two amendments that did not make it into the Bill of Rights include an amendment that created a population system for representation and one that prohibited payment to congressional members until an election. The second of these was ultimately ratified two centuries later in 1992.