first 10 amendments

In school they teach you
how to multiply 9x8
make you read Macbeth
and have you memorize the first 10 amendments to the constitution.
But they don’t teach you how to
stop loving someone who has
stopped loving you
or how to deal with losing
a friend to an unsaid goodbye
and a relative to a cancer that ate
away their brain.
At home I learned from my father that
alcohol can make as many problems
as it solves
but damn does it feel good
to let my throat burn instead of my heart
and to tune out the problems in my head
that I just couldn’t solve.
Because life isn’t 9x8
and it isn’t the way authors describe
their characters in a story.
It’s those nights you lay awake
missing someone
wishing things could be different
and it’s the next day when you realize they can’t
and then it’s how you pick yourself up
after being down for so long.
I taught myself that.
In school they teach you
how to multiply 9x8
make you read Macbeth
and have you memorize the first 10
amendments to the constitution.
But they don’t teach you how to
stop loving someone who has
stopped loving you
or how to deal with losing
a friend to an unsaid goodbye
and a relative to a cancer that ate
away their brain.
At home I learned from my father that
alcohol can make as many problems
as it solves
but damn does it feel good
to let my throat burn instead of my heart
and to tune out the problems in my head
that I just couldn’t solve.
Because life isn’t 9x8
and it isn’t the way authors describe
their characters in a story.
It’s those nights you lay awake
missing someone
wishing things could be different
and it’s the next day when you realize they can’t
and then it’s how you pick yourself up
after being down for so long.
I taught myself that.
2

September 17th 1787: US Constitution signed

On this day in 1787, the United States Constitution was signed in Philadelphia. The document was thus adopted by the Constitutional Convention, which included George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin. It was later ratified by the states and came into effect on March 4th 1789. The Constitution sets out the rules and principles that govern America to this day, and defines the powers of the three branches of federal government and the states. The first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and established basic rights of citizens, including freedom and speech and religion. The Constitution has since been amended 17 times, giving a total of 27 amendments. America’s is the oldest written constitution still used today.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights


Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Article the first… After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

Article the second… No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article the fourth… A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article the fifth… No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article the sixth… The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article the seventh… No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article the eighth… In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article the ninth… In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article the tenth… Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article the eleventh… The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article the twelfth… The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

ATTEST,

Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives
John Adams, Vice-President of the United States, and President of the Senate
John Beckley, Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Sam. A Otis Secretary of the Senate


Bill of Rights
Series: Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 - 2011
Record Group 11: General Records of the United States Government, 1778 - 2006

Criticized for the lack of protections against tyranny in the Constitution, the First Congress of the United States proposed 12 amendments to address those arguments on September 25, 1789. On December 15, 1791, the amendments were ratified by the state of Virginia, making it the eleventh and final state needed for articles 3 through 12 to be officially added to the Constitution. Articles 3 to 12 constitute the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights »


More resources and events on the 225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights from @usnatarchives

225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.

After the state legislature had failed to ratify the Constitution on several occasions, the United States Congress twice considered legislation to tax imports from the state as foreign goods.

On May 29, 1790 Rhode Island finally ratified the Constitution. On June 1, George Washington forwarded copies of the state’s ratification documents to Congress. Included with their ratification was a list of 18 human rights and 21 proposed amendments. Most of the 21 amendments were included in the Bill of Rights passed by Congress in September 1789 and sent to the states for adoption. On June 30, Rhode Island passed all 12 of the proposed amendments, though only amendments 3 through 12 would be adopted as the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

Message from President George Washington Forwarding Copies of Rhode Island’s Ratification of the U.S. Constitution, 6/1/1790, SEN1A-E2, Records of the U.S. Senate

4

Bill of Rights Day

Address of President Roosevelt on the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Bill of Rights, December 15, 1941

File Unit: First Carbon Files, 1933 - 1945Series: Speeches of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 - 1945Collection: Papers as President, President’s Personal File, 1933 - 1945

As we celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights on December 15—Bill of Rights Day—let’s take a look back at the origins and history of that day. 

On December 15, 1791, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, later known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified. These amendments protect our most fundamental rights—freedom of speech, protest, and conscience, and guarantees our equal protection under the law. 

During the 150th anniversary commemorations in 1941, Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing the President, “to issue a proclamation designating December 15, 1941, as Bill of Rights Day, calling upon officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on that day, and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and prayer.” 

In November, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation dedicating December 15, 1941, as Bill of Rights Day. In his message he referred to the document as “the great American charter of personal liberty and human dignity.” 

Later, in his radio address on Bill of Rights Day—a week after we entered World War II—Roosevelt applauded liberty loving nations who support the rights outlined our charter, and denounced counties like Nazi Germany for its destruction of those very rights.

More on the history of Bill of Rights Day at Bill of Rights Day | Pieces of History


More resources and events on the 225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights from @usnatarchives

225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.

On January 28, 1790, President George Washington forwarded copies of a letter from the Governor of Rhode Island and an act from the Rhode Island legislature calling for a ratifying convention. However, the convention adjourned without taking a ratification vote, and Congress considered legislation that would tax imports from Rhode Island as foreign goods.

On May 29, Rhode Island finally ratified the Constitution. They included with their ratification a list of 18 human rights and 21 proposed amendments. Most of the 21 amendments were included in the Bill of Rights passed by Congress and sent to the states for adoption. On June 30, Rhode Island passed all 12 of the proposed amendments, though only amendments 3 through 12 would be adopted as the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

Rhode Island Act Calling for a Constitutional Convention, 1/28/1790, SEN 1A-E2, Records of the U.S. Senate

4

225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.

On September 9, 1789, the Senate passed this resolution introduced by Senator Oliver Ellsworth that captured all of the Senate revisions to the House proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution

On September 25, Congress passed 12 amendments that were sent to the states for approval. Ten of the amendments were ratified by the required three-fourths of the states and became part of the Constitution in 1791. These first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.

Senator Ellsworth’s Draft of Amendments Proposed to the Bill of Rights as Passed by the House, 9/9/1789, Sen 1A-C2, Records of the U.S. Senate

5

225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.

On June 8, 1789, Representative James Madison introduced a series of proposed amendments to the newly ratified U.S. Constitution. That summer the House of Representatives debated Madison’s proposal, and on August 24 the House passed 17 amendments to be added to the Constitution. Those 17 amendments were then sent to the Senate.

On September 2, the Senate began considering amendments to the Constitutions as proposed and passed in the House. The Senate compiled this document over six days. The Senate’s debate continued for another two days and resulted in additional changes to the amendments not shown on this document.

On September 25, Congress passed 12 amendments that were sent to the states for approval. Ten of the amendments were ratified by the required three-fourths of the states and became part of the Constitution in 1791. These first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.

Notes Recording Senate Consideration of House Proposed Articles of Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 9/2/1789, SEN1A-C2, Records of the U.S. Senate