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Letter from James Madison to Edmund Randolph, August 21, 1789

In June 1789, Representative James Madison of Virginia introduced a number of amendments to the newly ratified U.S. Constitution. That summer the House of Representatives fiercely debated the issue. In this letter to fellow Virginian Edmund Randolph, Madison describes the challenges of moving the amendments through Congress.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Letter from James Madison to Edmund Randolph, August 21, 1789

Drafting The Bill of Rights - 2

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention disagreed over the wisdom of listing specific rights within the U.S. Constitution, but members of the First Congress, fresh from the struggle against tyranny, insisted on the necessity of protecting individual liberties, including the freedoms of speech, religion and assembly. In 1789 they proposed twelve amendments to the original U.S. Constitution. Ten of these were swiftly ratified by the states and became known as the Bill of Rights. They form part of the bedrock of our national government.