December 15, 2016, marks the 225th Anniversary of the passage of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution.
In September 1789, the first Congress of the United States approved 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. The amendments were designed to protect the basic rights of U.S. citizens, guaranteeing the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and exercise of religion; the right to fair legal procedure and to bear arms; and that powers not delegated to the federal government would be reserved for the states and the people.
These amendments were influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. They were drawn from Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason in 1776.
On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal.
Of the two amendments not ratified, the first concerned the population system of representation, while the second prohibited laws varying the payment of congressional members from taking effect until an election intervened. The first of these two amendments was never ratified, while the second was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.
What Your State Federation or Republican Women’s Club Can Do:
In honor of this milestone, the NFRW Americanism Committee encourages you to give the gift of liberty and freedom by donating copies of the U.S. Constitution to fifth graders in your area.
CONTACT: Fay Williamson, NFRW Americanism Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org