STATE – Today, Dec. 15, is Bill of Rights Day, which was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the document.
“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them. They come in time to take these rights for granted and to assume their protection is assured,” Roosevelt wrote. “We, however, who have seen these privileges lost in other continents and other countries can now appreciate their meaning to those people who enjoyed them once and now no longer can. We understand in some measure what their loss can mean. And by that realization we have come to a clearer conception of their worth to us, and to a stronger and more unalterable determination that here in our land they shall not be lost or weakened or curtailed.”
The Bill of Rights was proposed to the state legislatures on Sept. 25, 1789 and 10 of the 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution were ultimately approved and added on Dec. 15, 1791.
The Bill of Rights guarantees our rights to free speech, a free press and freedom to practice religion without government interference, the right to a jury trial, and protection from cruel and unusual punishment, among others.
Two amendments were proposed but not approved to become part of the Bill of Rights. One would have defined how Congressional representatives would be apportioned. The other, which dealt with Congressional pay raises, was finally ratified in 1992 to become the 27th Amendment.
The United States Courts web page offers a quiz to test your knowledge about the Bill of Rights.
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