Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library that serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States; the Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C.. The Library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol; the Library of Congress has claimed to be the largest library in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."The Library of Congress moved to Washington in 1800 after sitting for 11 years in the temporary national capitals in New York City and Philadelphia. The small Congressional Library was housed in the United States Capitol for most of the 19th century until the early 1890s. Most of the original collection had been destroyed by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812, the library sought to restore its collection in 1815.
They bought Thomas Jefferson's entire personal collection of 6,487 books. After a period of slow growth, another fire struck the Library in its Capitol chambers in 1851, again destroying a large amount of the collection, including many of Jefferson's books. After the American Civil War, the Library of Congress grew in both size and importance, which sparked a campaign to purchase replacement copies for volumes, burned; the Library received the right of transference of all copyrighted works to deposit two copies of books, maps and diagrams printed in the United States. It began to build its collections, its development culminated between 1888 and 1894 with the construction of a separate, extensive library building across the street from the Capitol; the Library's primary mission is to research inquiries made by members of Congress, carried out through the Congressional Research Service. The Library is open to the public, although only high-ranking government officials and Library employees may check out books and materials.
James Madison is credited with the idea of creating a congressional library, first making such a proposition in 1783. The Library of Congress was subsequently established April 24, 1800 when President John Adams signed an act of Congress providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington. Part of the legislation appropriated $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress... and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them." Books were ordered from London, the collection consisted of 740 books and three maps which were housed in the new United States Capitol. President Thomas Jefferson played an important role in establishing the structure of the Library of Congress. On January 26, 1802, he signed a bill that allowed the president to appoint the Librarian of Congress and establishing a Joint Committee on the Library to regulate and oversee it; the new law extended borrowing privileges to the President and Vice President.
The invading British army burned Washington in August 1814 during the War of 1812 and destroyed the Library of Congress and its collection of 3,000 volumes. These volumes had been left in the Senate wing of the Capitol. One of the few congressional volumes to survive was a government account book of receipts and expenditures for 1810, it was taken as a souvenir by British Admiral George Cockburn, whose family returned it to the United States government in 1940. Within a month, Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal library as a replacement. Congress accepted his offer in January 1815; some members of the House of Representatives opposed the outright purchase, including New Hampshire Representative Daniel Webster who wanted to return "all books of an atheistical and immoral tendency." Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books in several languages and on subjects such as philosophy, law, architecture, natural sciences, studies of classical Greece and Rome, modern inventions, hot air balloons, submarines, fossils and meteorology.
He had collected books on topics not viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks. However, he believed, he remarked: I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection. Jefferson's collection was unique in that it was the working collection of a scholar, not a gentleman's collection for display. With the addition of his collection, the Library of Congress was transformed from a specialist's library to a more general one, his original collection was organized into a scheme based on Francis Bacon's organization of knowledge. He grouped his books into Memory and Imagination, which broke down into 44 more subdivisions; the Library followed Jefferson's organization scheme until the late 19th century, when librarian Herbert Putnam began work on a more flexible Library of Congress Classification structure that now applies to more than 138 million items. In 1851, a fire destroyed two thirds of the Jefferson collection, with only 2,000 books remaining.
By 2008, the Librarians of Congress had found replacements for all but 300 of the works that were in Jefferson's original collection. On December 22, 1851 the largest fire in the Library's history destroyed 35,000 books, about two–thi
Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison, 5 U. S. 137, was a U. S. Supreme Court case that established the principle of judicial review in the United States, meaning that American courts have the power to strike down laws and some government actions that contravene the U. S. Constitution. Decided in 1803, Marbury remains the single most important decision in American constitutional law; the Court's landmark decision established that the U. S. Constitution is actual "law", not just a statement of political principles and ideals, helped define the boundary between the constitutionally separate executive and judicial branches of the American form of government; the case originated from the political and ideological rivalry between outgoing U. S. President John Adams, who espoused the pro-business and pro-national-government ideals of Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Party, incoming President Thomas Jefferson, who led the Democratic-Republican Party and favored agriculture and decentralization. Adams had lost the U.
S. presidential election of 1800 to Jefferson, in March 1801, just two days before his term as president ended, Adams appointed several dozen Federalist Party supporters to new circuit judge and justice of the peace positions in an attempt to frustrate Jefferson and his supporters in the Democratic-Republican Party. The U. S. Senate confirmed Adams's appointments, but upon Jefferson's inauguration two days a few of the new judges' commissions still had not been delivered. Jefferson believed the commissions were void because they had not been delivered in time, instructed his new Secretary of State, James Madison, not to deliver them. One of the men whose commissions had not been delivered in time was William Marbury, a Maryland businessman, a strong supporter of Adams and the Federalists. In late 1801, after Madison had refused to deliver his commission, Marbury filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court asking the Court to issue a writ of mandamus forcing Madison to deliver his commission. In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Marshall, the Court held firstly that Madison's refusal to deliver Marbury's commission was illegal, secondly that it was proper for a court in such situations to order the government official in question to deliver the commission.
However, in Marbury's case, the Court did not order Madison to comply. Examining the law Congress had passed that gave the Supreme Court jurisdiction over types of cases like Marbury's, Marshall found that it had expanded the definition of the Supreme Court's jurisdiction beyond what was set down in the U. S. Constitution. Marshall struck down the law, announcing that American courts have the power to invalidate laws that they find to violate the Constitution; because this meant the Court had no jurisdiction over the case, it could not issue the writ that Marbury had requested. In the fiercely contested U. S. presidential election of 1800, the three major candidates were Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, John Adams, the incumbent U. S. president. Adams was aligned with the pro-business and pro-national-government politics of Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Party, while Jefferson and Burr were part of the opposing Democratic-Republican Party, which favored agriculture and decentralization. American public opinion had turned against the Federalists in the months prior to the election due to their use of the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, as well as growing tensions with Great Britain, with whom the Federalists favored close ties.
Jefferson won the popular vote, but only narrowly defeated Adams in the Electoral College. As the results of the election became clear in early 1801, Adams and the Federalists became determined to exercise their influence in the weeks remaining before Jefferson took office, did all they could to fill federal offices with "anti-Jeffersonians" who were loyal to the Federalists. On March 2, 1801, just two days before his presidential term ended, Adams nominated nearly 60 Federalist supporters to circuit judge and justice of the peace positions the Federalist-controlled Congress had newly created with the Judiciary Act of 1801; these last-minute nominees—whom Jefferson's supporters derisively referred to as the "Midnight Judges"—included William Marbury, a prosperous businessman from Maryland. An ardent Federalist, Marbury was active in Maryland politics and had been a vigorous supporter of the Adams presidency; the following day, March 3, the Senate approved Adams's nominations en masse. The appointees' commissions were written out signed by Adams and sealed by his Secretary of State, John Marshall, named the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in January but continued serving as Secretary of State for the remainder of Adams's term until Jefferson took office.
Marshall dispatched his younger brother James Markham Marshall to deliver the commissions to the appointees. With only one day left before Jefferson's inauguration, James Marshall was able to deliver most of the commissions, but a few—including Marbury's—were not delivered; the day after, March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was sworn in and became the 3rd President of the United States. As soon as he was able, Jefferson instructed his new Secretary of State, James Madison, to withhold the undelivered appointments. In Jefferson's opinion, the commissions were void. Without the commissions, the appointees were unable to assume the offices and duties to which they had been appointed. Over the next several months, Madison continually refused to deliver Marbury's commission to him. In December 1801, Marbury filed suit against Madison in the U. S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to issue a writ of mandamus forcing Madison to deliver Marbu
Article Five of the United States Constitution
Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution, the nation's frame of government, may be altered. Under Article V, the process to alter the Constitution consists of proposing an amendment or amendments, subsequent ratification. Amendments may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a convention of states called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures. To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either—as determined by Congress—the legislatures of three-quarters of the states or state ratifying conventions in three-quarters of the states; the vote of each state carries equal weight, regardless of a state's population or length of time in the Union. Article V is silent regarding deadlines for the ratification of proposed amendments, but most amendments proposed since 1917 have included a deadline for ratification. Legal scholars agree that the amending process of Article V can itself be amended by the procedures laid out in Article V, but there is some disagreement over whether Article V is the exclusive means of amending the Constitution.
In addition to defining the procedures for altering the Constitution, Article V shields three clauses in Article I from ordinary amendment by attaching stipulations. Regarding two of the clauses—one concerning importation of slaves and the other apportionment of direct taxes—the prohibition on amendment was absolute but of limited duration, expiring in 1808. Scholars disagree as to whether this shielded clause can itself be amended by the procedures laid out in Article V; the Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.
Thirty-three amendments to the United States Constitution have been approved by the Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Twenty-seven of these amendments are now part of the Constitution; the first ten amendments were adopted and ratified and are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. Six amendments adopted by Congress and sent to the states have not been ratified by the required number of states and are not part of the Constitution. Four of these amendments are still technically open and pending, one is closed and has failed by its own terms, one is closed and has failed by the terms of the resolution proposing it. All totaled 11,539 measures to amend the Constitution have been proposed in Congress since 1789. Article V provides two methods for amending the nation's frame of government; the first method authorizes Congress, "whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary", to propose Constitutional amendments. The second method requires Congress, "on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states", to "call a convention for proposing amendments".
This duality in Article V is the result of compromises made during the 1787 Constitutional Convention between two groups, one maintaining that the national legislature should have no role in the constitutional amendment process, another contending that proposals to amend the constitution should originate in the national legislature and their ratification should be decided by state legislatures or state conventions. Regarding the consensus amendment process crafted during the convention, James Madison declared: It guards against that extreme facility which would render the Constitution too mutable, it moreover enables the General and the State Governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other. Each time the Article V process has been initiated since 1789, the first method for crafting and proposing amendments has been used. All 33 amendments submitted to the states for ratification originated in the Congress; the second method, the convention option, a political tool which Alexander Hamilton argued would enable state legislatures to "erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority", has yet to be invoked.
When the 1st Congress considered a series of constitutional amendments, it was suggested that the two houses first adopt a resolution indicating that they deemed amendments necessary. This procedure was not used. Instead, both the House and the Senate proceeded directly to consideration of a joint resolution, thereby implying that both bodies deemed amendments to be necessary; when proposed by James Madison, the amendments were d
Equal Protection Clause
The Equal Protection Clause is a clause within the text of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The clause, which took effect in 1868, provides "nor shall any State deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws". A primary motivation for this clause was to validate the equality provisions contained in the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which guaranteed that all citizens would have the guaranteed right to equal protection by law; as a whole, the Fourteenth Amendment marked a large shift in American constitutionalism, by applying more constitutional restrictions against the states than had applied before the Civil War. The meaning of the Equal Protection Clause has been the subject of much debate, inspired the well-known phrase "Equal Justice Under Law"; this clause was the basis for Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that helped to dismantle racial segregation, the basis for many other decisions rejecting discrimination against, bigotry towards, people belonging to various groups.
While the Equal Protection Clause itself applies only to state and local governments, the Supreme Court held in Bolling v. Sharpe that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment nonetheless imposes various equal protection requirements on the federal government via reverse incorporation; the Equal Protection Clause is located at the end of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Equality as a concept has been enshrined in America since the Declaration of Independence, this did not mean that equality was a part of daily life or legal practices. Before the passing of the reconstruction amendments, which included the Equal Protection Clause, there were various legal challenges for the rights of Black people in America.
Blacks were considered inferior and, until the ratification of Thirteenth Amendment, it was legal to own them as slaves. Blacks that were not bound to involuntary servitude had no legal rights with the Supreme Court, in one of the most infamous Supreme Court cases of all time, purporting that Blacks in America had no constitutional rights which they could appeal to in society or in the courts. Before this decision there was nothing barring free Black Americans from theoretical access to rights under the law, but in the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, the Supreme Court established a precedent in which Black men, whether free or in bondage, had no legal rights within America. A plurality of historians believe that this judicial decision was the point of no return that set the United States on the path to the Civil War, which would subsequently lead to the ratifications of the reconstruction amendments, in which the Equal Protection Clause is located. Before and during the Civil War, the Southern states prohibited speech of pro-Union citizens, anti-slavery advocates, northerners in general, since the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states during such times.
During the Civil War, many of the Southern states stripped the state citizenship of many whites and banished them from their state seizing their property. Shortly after the Union victory in the American Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment was proposed by Congress and ratified by the states in 1865, abolishing slavery. Subsequently, many ex-Confederate states adopted Black Codes following the war, with these laws restricting the rights of blacks to hold property, including real property, many forms of personal property, to form enforceable contracts; such codes established harsher criminal consequences for blacks than for whites. Because of the inequality imposed by Black Codes, a Republican controlled Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1866; the Act provided that all persons born in the United States were citizens, required that "citizens of every race and color... full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens."President Andrew Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 amid concerns that Congress did not have the constitutional authority to enact such bill.
Such doubts were one factor that led Congress to begin to draft and debate what would become the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Additionally, Congress wanted to protect white Unionists who were under personal and legal attack in the former Confederacy; the effort was led by the Radical Republicans of both houses of Congress, including John Bingham, Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens. It was the most influential of these men, John Bingham, the principal author and drafter of the Equal Protection Clause; the Southern states were opposed to the Civil Rights Act, but in 1865 Congress, exercising its power under Article I, Section 5, Clause 1 of the Constitution, to "be the Judge of the... Qualifications of its own Members", had excluded Southerners from Congress, declaring that their states, having rebelled against the Union, could therefore not elect members to Congress, it was this fact—the fact that the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted by a "rump" Congress—that permitted the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment by Congress and subsequently proposed to the states.
John James Marshall was an American politician who served as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835. Marshall remains the longest-serving chief justice and fourth-longest serving justice in Supreme Court history, he is regarded as one of the most influential justices to sit on the Supreme Court. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Marshall served as the United States Secretary of State under President John Adams. Marshall was born in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1755. After the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, he joined the Continental Army, serving in numerous battles. During the stages of the war, he was admitted to the state bar and won election to the Virginia House of Delegates. Marshall favored the ratification of the United States Constitution, he played a major role in Virginia's ratification of that document. At the request of President Adams, Marshall traveled to France in 1797 to help bring an end to attacks on American shipping. In what became known as the XYZ Affair, the government of France refused to open negotiations unless the United States agreed to pay bribes.
After returning to the United States, Marshall won election to the United States House of Representatives and emerged as a Federalist leader in Congress. He was appointed secretary of state in 1800 after a cabinet shake-up, becoming an important figure in the Adams administration. In 1801, Adams appointed Marshall to the Supreme Court. Marshall emerged as the key figure on the court, due in large part to his personal influence with the other justices. Under his leadership, the court moved away from seriatim opinions, instead issuing a single majority opinion that elucidated a clear rule; the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison presented the first major case heard by the Marshall Court. In his opinion for the court, Marshall upheld the principle of judicial review, whereby courts could strike down federal and state laws if they conflicted with the Constitution. Marshall's holding avoided direct conflict with the executive branch, led by Democratic-Republican President Thomas Jefferson. By establishing the principle of judicial review while avoiding an inter-branch confrontation, Marshall helped cement the position of the American judiciary as an independent and co-equal branch of government.
After 1803, many of the major decisions issued by the Marshall Court confirmed the supremacy of the federal government and the federal Constitution over the states. In Fletcher v. Peck and Dartmouth College v. Woodward, the court invalidated state actions because they violated the Contract Clause; the court's decision in McCulloch v. Maryland upheld the constitutionality of the Second Bank of the United States and established the principle that the states could not tax federal institutions; the cases of Martin v. Hunter's Lessee and Cohens v. Virginia established that the Supreme Court could hear appeals from state courts in both civil and criminal matters. Marshall's opinion in Gibbons v. Ogden established that the Commerce Clause bars states from restricting navigation. In the case of Worcester v. Georgia, Marshall held that the federal government had the sole power to deal with Native Americans, he ordered the release of prisoners held by the state of Georgia. President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the order, but his administration avoided a confrontation with the Marshall Court by arranging for the pardon of the prisoners.
Marshall died in 1835, Jackson appointed Roger Taney as his successor. John Marshall was born on September 24, 1755 in a log cabin in Germantown, a rural community on the Virginia frontier, close to present-day near Midland, Fauquier County. In the mid-1760s, the Marshalls moved west to the present-day site of Virginia, his parents were Thomas Marshall and Mary Randolph Keith, the granddaughter of politician Thomas Randolph of Tuckahoe and a first cousin of U. S. President Thomas Jefferson. Despite her ancestry, Mary was shunned by the Randolph family because her mother, Mary Isham Randolph, had eloped with a man believed beneath her station in life. After his death, Mary Isham Randolph married a Scottish minister. Thomas Marshall was employed in Fauquier County as a surveyor and land agent by Lord Fairfax, which provided him with a substantial income. Nonetheless, John Marshall grew up in a two-room log cabin, which he shared with his parents and several siblings. One of his younger brothers, James Markham Marshall, would serve as a federal judge.
Marshall was a first cousin of U. S. Senator Humphrey Marshall. From a young age, Marshall was noted for his good humor and black eyes, which were "strong and penetrating, beaming with intelligence and good nature". With the exception of one year of formal schooling, during which time he befriended future president James Monroe, Marshall did not receive a formal education. Encouraged by his parents, the young Marshall read reading works such as William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England and Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man, he was tutored by the Reverend James Thomson, a ordained deacon from Glasgow, who resided with the Marshall family in return for his room and board. Marshall was influenced by his father, of whom he wrote, "to his care I am indebted for anything valuable which I may have acquired in my youth, he was my only intelligent companion. Thomas Marshall prospered in his work as a surveyor, in the 1770s he purchased an estate known as Oak Hill. After the 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord and John Marshall volunteered for service in the 3rd Virginia Regiment.
In 1776, Marshall became a lieutenant in the Eleventh Vi
Article Two of the United States Constitution
Article Two of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, which carries out and enforces federal laws. Article Two vests the power of the executive branch in the office of the President of the United States, lays out the procedures for electing and removing the president, establishes the president's powers and responsibilities. Section 1 of Article Two establishes the positions of the president and the vice president, sets the term of both offices at four years. Section 1's Vesting Clause declares that the executive power of the federal government is vested in the president and, along with the Vesting Clauses of Article One and Article Three, establishes the separation of powers between the three branches of government. Section 1 establishes the Electoral College, the body charged with electing the president and the vice president. Section 1 provides that each state chooses members of the Electoral College in a manner directed by each state's respective legislature, with the states granted electors equal to their combined representation in both houses of Congress.
Section 1 lays out the procedures of the Electoral College and requires the House of Representatives to hold a contingent election to select the president if no individual wins a majority of the electoral vote. Section 1 sets forth the eligibility requirements for the office of the president, provides procedures in case of a presidential vacancy, requires the president to take an oath of office. Section 2 of Article Two lays out the powers of the presidency, establishing that the president serves as the commander-in-chief of the military and has the power to grant pardons and require the "principal officer" of any executive department to tender advice. Though not required by Article Two, President George Washington organized the principal officers of the executive departments into the Cabinet, a practice that subsequent presidents have followed; the Treaty Clause grants the president the power to enter into treaties with the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. The Appointments Clause grants the president the power to appoint judges and public officials subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, which in practice has meant that presidential appointees must be confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate.
The Appointments Clause establishes that Congress can, by law, allow the president, the courts, or the heads of departments to appoint "inferior officers" without requiring the advice and consent of the Senate. The final clause of Section 2 grants the president the power to make recess appointments to fill vacancies that occur when the Senate is in recess. Section 3 of Article Two lays out the responsibilities of the president, granting the president the power to convene both houses of Congress, receive foreign representatives, commission all federal officers. Section 3 requires the president to inform Congress of the "state of the union"; the Recommendation Clause requires the president to recommend measures he deems "necessary and expedient." The Take Care Clause requires the president to obey and enforce all laws, though the president retains some discretion in interpreting the laws and determining how to enforce them. Section 4 of Article Two establishes that the president and other officers can be removed from office through the impeachment process, further described in Article One.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows Section 1 begins with a vesting clause that confers federal executive power upon the President. Similar clauses are found in Article I and Article III; the former bestows federal legislative power to Congress, the latter grants judicial power to the Supreme Court. These three articles create a separation of powers among the three branches of the federal government. In addition to separation of powers and important to limited government, each independent and sovereign branch provides checks and balances on the operation and power of the other two branches; the President's executive power is subject to two important limitations. First, the President lacks executive authority explicitly granted to Congress. Hence the President cannot declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, or regulate commerce though executives had wielded such authority in the past.
In these instances, Congress retained portions of the executive power that the Continental Congress had wielded under the Articles of Confederation. In fact, because those actions require legislation passed by Congress which must be signed by the President to take effect, those powers are not executive powers granted to or retained by Congress per se. Nor were they retained by the U. S. Congress as leftovers from the Articles of Confederation; the Articles of Confederation, Continental Congress and its powers were abolished at the time the new U. S. Congress was seated and the new federal government formally and replaced its interim predecessor, and although the President is implicitly denied the power to unilaterally declare war, a declaration of war is not in and of itself a vehicle of executive power since it is just a public declaration that the U. S. government considers itself "at war" with a foreign political entity. Regardless of the inability to declare war, the President does have the power to unilaterally order military action in defense of the United States pursuant to "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces".
By U. S. law, this pow
United States Bill of Rights
The United States Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the bitter 1787–88 debate over ratification of Constitution, written to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, explicit declarations that all powers not granted to the U. S. Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the people; the concepts codified in these amendments are built upon those found in earlier documents the Virginia Declaration of Rights, as well as the English Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta. Due to the efforts of Representative James Madison, who studied the deficiencies of the constitution pointed out by anti-federalists and crafted a series of corrective proposals, Congress approved twelve articles of amendment on September 25, 1789, submitted them to the states for ratification.
Contrary to Madison's proposal that the proposed amendments be incorporated into the main body of the Constitution, they were proposed as supplemental additions to it. Articles Three through Twelve were ratified as additions to the Constitution on December 15, 1791, became Amendments One through Ten of the Constitution. Article Two became part of the Constitution on May 1992, as the Twenty-seventh Amendment. Article One is still pending before the states. Although Madison's proposed amendments included a provision to extend the protection of some of the Bill of Rights to the states, the amendments that were submitted for ratification applied only to the federal government; the door for their application upon state governments was opened in the 1860s, following ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. Since the early 20th century both federal and state courts have used the Fourteenth Amendment to apply portions of the Bill of Rights to state and local governments; the process is known as incorporation.
There are several original engrossed copies of the Bill of Rights still in existence. One of these is on permanent public display at the National Archives in Washington, D. C. Prior to the ratification and implementation of the United States Constitution, the thirteen sovereign states followed the Articles of Confederation, created by the Second Continental Congress and ratified in 1781. However, the national government that operated under the Articles of Confederation was too weak to adequately regulate the various conflicts that arose between the states; the Philadelphia Convention set out to correct weaknesses of the Articles, apparent before the American Revolutionary War had been concluded. The convention took place from May 14 to September 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although the Convention was purportedly intended only to revise the Articles, the intention of many of its proponents, chief among them James Madison of Virginia and Alexander Hamilton of New York, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one.
The convention convened in the Pennsylvania State House, George Washington of Virginia was unanimously elected as president of the convention. The 55 delegates who drafted the Constitution are among the men known as the Founding Fathers of the new nation. Thomas Jefferson, Minister to France during the convention, characterized the delegates as an assembly of "demi-gods." Rhode Island refused to send delegates to the convention. On September 12, George Mason of Virginia suggested the addition of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution modeled on previous state declarations, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts made it a formal motion. However, after only a brief discussion where Roger Sherman pointed out that State Bills of Rights were not repealed by the new Constitution, the motion was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. Madison an opponent of a Bill of Rights explained the vote by calling the state bills of rights "parchment barriers" that offered only an illusion of protection against tyranny.
Another delegate, James Wilson of Pennsylvania argued that the act of enumerating the rights of the people would have been dangerous, because it would imply that rights not explicitly mentioned did not exist. 84. Because Mason and Gerry had emerged as opponents of the proposed new Constitution, their motion—introduced five days before the end of the convention—may have been seen by other delegates as a delaying tactic; the quick rejection of this motion, however endangered the entire ratification process. Author David O. Stewart characterizes the omission of a Bill of Rights in the original Constitution as "a political blunder of the first magnitude" while historian Jack N. Rakove calls it "the one serious miscalculation the framers made as they looked ahead to the struggle over ratification". Thirty-nine delegates signed the finalized Constitution. Thirteen delegates left before it was completed, three who remained at the convention until the end refused to sign it: Mason and Edmund Randolph of Virginia.
Afterward, the Constitution was presented to the Articles of Confederation Congress with the request that it afterwards be submitted to a convention of delegates, chosen in each State by the people, for their assent and ratification. Following the Philadelphia Convention, some leading revolutionary figures such as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee publicly opposed the new frame of government, a position known as "Anti-Federalism". Elbridge Gerry wrote the most popular Anti-Federalist tract, "Hon. Mr. Gerry's Objections"