Preamble to the
The Preamble to the Bill of Rights is the opening statement of the
of Rights that was voted on by Congress on September 25, 1789. After
Congress voted to recommend twelve amendments to the Constitution to
the thirteen states of the Union, each state held a Ratification
Convention to discuss the merits of each proposed amendment, and to
accept or reject each one. In the end, Ten Amendments were accepted by
the states and they became law on December 15, 1791.
can read more about the History of the Bill of Rights here.
Bill of Rights
The Preamble to the Bill of Rights consists of
four paragraphs. The
first paragraph states that this is an act of the First Congress under
the new Constitution, meeting in New York. The session began on March
The next paragraph relates the fact that the legislatures of
several states had requested that a number of amendments, or a Bill of
Rights, be added to the Constitution. They believed that the
Constitution was not clear enough in protecting certain rights of the
people, such as the freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, freedom of
religion and the right to trial by jury. You
can read the text of the Constitution here.
There was a great public argument about these facts and many people
said they would not support the Constitution at all if these rights
were not addressed in it. So the leaders of the First Congress,
including James Madison, who was the principal architect of the
Constitution itself, decided to support the addition of certain
amendments that would address these concerns, in order to build more
confidence in the Constitution from more of the population.
The next paragraph of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights says that
of the Senate and the House of Representatives are proposing to the
State legislatures certain amendments to the Constitution, which will
become law if they are ratified, or accepted, by 3/4 of the states.
This is referring to Article 5 of the Constitution itself which gives
the requirements for amending the Constitution. The requirements are
that 2/3 of each house of Congress must agree and propose the changes
to the states, or that 2/3 of the state legislatures can recommend
certain changes to the Congress who will then propose formal
amendments. Then, in order for an amendment to become law, it must be
ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures. Read
Article 5 of the Constitution here.
The fourth paragraph of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights is simply
statement introducing the actual amendments.
to 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
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."
you would like
to read about the meanings of each amendment, go to
Ten Amendments page here.
about the 1st Amendment here.
about the 2nd Amendment here.
about the 3rd Amendment here.
about the 4th Amendment here.
about the 5th Amendment here.
about the 6th Amendment here.
about the 7th Amendment here.
about the 8th Amendment here.
about the 9th Amendment here.
about the 10th Amendment here.
the entire Bill of Rights here.
about the History of the Bill of Rights here.
Bill of Rights Pictures here.
the Constitution here.
about the Declaration of Independence here.
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