How the Bill of Rights Came to Be

Bill of Rights pic

Bill of Rights

Having spent time in leadership positions at financial institutions like the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and Barnett Bank of Florida, Donald L. Koch founded Koch Asset Management in 1988 and now serves as CEO. In 1990, Donald L. Koch founded the Koch Charitable Foundation to promote education and understanding around the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.

The 1791 Bill of Rights comprises 10 amendments to the Constitution, which was written in 1787. Following completion of the Constitution, the public called for better protection for individual rights, so James Madison wrote the amendments to prohibit certain aspects of governmental power over individual liberties.

At first, Madison tried to edit the Constitution to address the issues raised by the people, but it was agreed that the Constitution itself could not be changed. Instead, Madison submitted several amendments, 10 of which were ratified by the states to become the Bill of Rights.

In 1982, university student Gregory Watson discovered that there is no built-in time window in which to achieve ratification of the proposed amendments. He lobbied state legislatures to ratify one of the amendments that had not been approved immediately following Madison’s proposal. The amendment, which addresses protections against Congress members giving themselves a raise in pay, was approved in 1992 and became the 27th amendment to the US Constitution.