The U.S. Constitution is among the most important and esteemed texts in American history. Since its ratification on June 21, 1788, this living document has served as the groundwork for the country’s government on both the federal and state levels. It’s also constantly evolving: The Constitution has been amended 27 times over the years, beginning with the certification of the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, in 1791. Here’s a closer look at each of those first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The First Amendment Was Introduced by James Madison
Long before he assumed the role of commander in chief, America’s fourth President, James Madison, introduced the Bill of Rights to Congress, starting with the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech, religion, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. Madison drafted the Bill of Rights in 1789. A representative of Virginia, he based the First Amendment’s text on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, as well as the English Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta.