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Primary Source of the Month
The Constitution had been ratified by eleven states by July 26, 1788, but not without controversy. Spurred on by the arguments of Anti-Federalists, many states (including the four whose representatives did not sign) called for a Bill of Rights. In June of 1789, Representative James Madison of Virginia brought to the House of Representatives a list of amendments to serve as this Bill of Rights. The House debated the issue and approved seventeen amendments. These amendments were to be listed at the end of the Constitution, not inserted into the text as Madison had suggested. The Senate, upon reviewing the list, consolidated it to 12 amendments, which were then sent to the states. Amendments 3 through 12 were ratified and became the Bill of Rights.
This document shows the Senate's revisions on September 9, 1789, to what we now call the Bill of Rights. Through these revisions, they consolidated the seventeen amendments passed by the House of Representatives on August 24, 1789, down to twelve, which they then sent to the states for ratification.
The rest of this draft can be seen online at http://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/bor/.