Government and Politics

Bill of Rights

Why was the Bill of Rights added to the U.S. Constitution?

The United States Constitution, ratified in 1788, contained few personal guarantees. In fact, initially there was some opposition to the new Constitution—much of it based on the lack of specific guarantees of individual rights. It was the “father of the constitution” and future president of the United States James Madison (1751–1836), then a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who in December 1791 led Congress to adopt the 10 constitutional amendments that became known as the Bill of Rights. Most of the rights focus on individual liberties that had been cited in the Declaration of Independence as having been violated by the British. Most of these specific grievances had not been addressed by the Constitution; therefore, the Bill of Rights was added to cover this ground.


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