James Madison authored the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights. The Virginia Declaration of Rights authored by George Mason Madison influenced Madison in writing his amendments to the Constitution.
The Bill of Rights sets limits on the power of the federal government. While serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Madison sought to revise the language of the Constitution to address issues he saw in the document. Other members of the House rejected that idea and advised Madison to instead propose amendments to the document. The House adopted 17 of Madison's proposed amendments. Of those 17, the U.S. Senate approved 12. Only 10 of the 12 amendments submitted to the states received the required number of votes for ratification.