Debates over the Bill of Rights in the First Congress

August 19, 1789


The House then took into consideration the amendments to the constitution, as reported by the Committee of the whole.

Mr. SHERMAN renewed his motion for adding the amendments to the constitution by way of supplement.

Hereupon ensued a debate similar to what took place in the Committee of the whole, (see page 734;) but, on the question, Mr. SHERMAN’s motion was carried by two-thirds of the House; in consequence it was agreed to.

The first proposition of amendment (see page 734) was rejected, because two-thirds of the members present did not support it.

Mr. AMES brought forward his motion respecting the representation suggested, (see page 756.) A desultory conversation took place, and several amendments of the motion were attempted; but the House adjourned without coming to any determination.



Introductions, the documentary history of each amendment, and major themes about the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

From Political Liberty to Social Freedom

Using artwork, see how the idea of rights has changed throughout American history.

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Documentary Origins and Politics of the Bill of Rights

Interactive chart showing the origins of each of the rights in the Bill of Rights.

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