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The Origins of the Bill of Rights by Amendment

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 This list of the ten amendments contains links to all known documentary origins of each right guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, including their English and Colonial roots, Continental and State Constitution origins, and those that were proposed or otherwise brought up during the State Ratifying Conventions of 1787-1788. Details on the State Ratifying Conventions are found in Part 3: Politics.

Amendment One

No Establishment of Religion Clause (Religion Clause I)

State Constitution Origins

New Jersey Constitution, Article XIX
Delaware Constitution, Article 29
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XXXIV
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article VI

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland
New Hampshire
North Carolina
South Carolina

Free Exercise of Religion Clause (Religion Clause II)

English and Colonial Origins

Charter of Massachusetts Bay, 1629
Rhode Island Plantation Agreement, 1640
Maryland Act Concerning Freedom of Religion, 1649
First and Second Charters of Carolina, 1663 and 1665
New Jersey Concessions and Agreements, 1664
Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, 1669
Fundamental Laws of West New Jersey, 1676
Laws of West New Jersey, 1681
Pennsylvania Frame of Government, 1682
Fundamental Constitution of East New Jersey, 1683
New York Rights and Privileges, 1683
Charter of Delaware, 1701
Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges, 1701
Virginia Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785
Virginia Bill for Religious Freedom, 1786

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 16
New Jersey Constitution, Article XVIII
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article II
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Sections 2 and 3
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XXXIII
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XIX
Georgia Constitution, Article LVI
New York Constitution, Article XXXVIII
South Carolina Constitution, Article XXXVIII
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article II
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Articles IV and V

Continental Origins

Northwest Ordinance, 1787

State Ratifying Origins

New Hampshire
North Carolina
Virginia

Freedom of Speech Clause (Right of Expression Clause I)

English and Colonial Origins

Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641

State Constitution Origins

Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article XII

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland
North Carolina
Virginia

Freedom of Press Clause (Right of Expression Clause II)

English and Colonial Origins

Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 12
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article XII
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 23
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XXXVIII
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XV
Georgia Constitution, Article LXI
South Carolina Constitution, Article XLIII
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XVI
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XXII

Continental Origins

First Continental Congress, Appeal to the Inhabitants of Quebec, 1774

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland
North Carolina
Virginia

Freedom of Assembly Clause (Right of Association Clause I)

English and Colonial Origins

Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
State Constitution Origins
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article XVI
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XVIII
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XIX
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XXXII

Continental Origins

First Continental Congress Declaration and Resolves, 1774

State Ratifying Origins

North Carolina
Virginia

Freedom to Petition Clause (Right of Association Clause II)

English and Colonial Origins

Magna CartaChapter 61, 1215
English Petition of Rights, 1628
Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
English Bill of Rights, 1689

State Constitution Origins

Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article XVI
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XVIII
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 9
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XI
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XIX
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XXXII

Continental Origins

Stamp Act Congress Declaration of Rights and Grievances, 1765
First Continental Congress Declaration and Resolves, 1774
Declaration of Independence, 1776

State Ratifying Convention Origins

North Carolina
Virginia

Amendment Two

Keep and Bear Arms Clause (Right to Bear Arms Clause)

English and Colonial Origins

English Bill of Rights, 1689

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 13
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article XIII
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XVII
Georgia Constitution, Article XXXV
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Sections 18-20
New York Constitution, Article XL
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XVII
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Articles XIII and XXIV

Continental Origins

Declaration of Independence, 1776

State Ratifying Convention Origins

New Hampshire
North Carolina
Virginia

Amendment Three

No Soldier Quartered Clause (No Quartering of Soldiers Clause)

English and Colonial Origins

English Petition of Rights, 1628
English Bill of Rights, 1689
New York Rights and Privileges, 1683

State Constitution Origins

Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 21
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XXVIII
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XXVII
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XXVII

Continental Origins

First Continental Congress Declaration and Resolves, 1774
Declaration of Independence, 1776

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland
New Hampshire
North Carolina
Virginia

Amendment Four

Searches and Seizures Clause

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 10
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article X
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 17
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XXIII
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XI
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XIV
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XIX

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland
North Carolina
Virginia

Amendment Five

Grand Jury Clause (Grand Jury Indictment Clause)”

English and Colonial Origins

North Carolina Fundamental Constitution, 1669
Pennsylvania Frame of Government, 1682
Fundamental Constitution of East New Jersey, 1683
English Bill of Rights, 1689
New York Rights and Privileges, 1683
State Constitution Origins”
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article VIII
Georgia Constitution, Article XLV
State Ratifying Convention Origins”
Massachusetts
New Hampshire

Double Jeopardy Clause

English and Colonial Origins

Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
North Carolina Fundamental Constitution, 1669

State Constitution Origins

New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XVI

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland

Self-Incrimination Clause

English and Colonial Origins

Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 8
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article IX
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 15
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XX
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article VII
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XII
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XV

State Ratifying Convention Origins

North Carolina
Virginia

Due Process Clause

English and Colonial Origins

Magna CartaChapter 39, 1215
Virginia Ordinance and Constitution, 1621
English Petition of Rights, 1628
General Laws of New Plymouth, 1636
Maryland Act for the Liberties of the People, 1639
Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
Rhode Island Code of Laws, 1647
Charter of Connecticut, 1662
Fundamental Laws of West New Jersey, 1676
Fundamental Constitution of East New Jersey, 1683
English Bill of Rights, 1689
New York Rights and Privileges, 1683

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Sections 1 and 8
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article IX
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XXI
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XII
New York Constitution, Article XIII
South Carolina Constitution, Article XLI
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XII
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XV
Continental Origins
First Continental Congress Declaration and Resolves, 1774
Northwest Ordinance, 1787

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland
North Carolina
Virginia

Takings Clause (Just Compensation Clause; Eminent Domain Clause)

English and Colonial Origins”

Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Sections 1, 2, and 9
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article VIII
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Sections 10 and 12
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article X
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XII

Continental Origins

Declaration of Independence, 1776
Northwest Ordinance, 1787

Amendment Six

Speedy and Public Trial Clause

English and Colonial Origins

Fundamental Laws of West New Jersey, 1676

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 8
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article IX
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 14
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XIX

State Ratifying Convention Origins

North Carolina
Virginia

Impartial Jury Clause (Jury Trial in Criminal Cases Clause)

English and Colonial Origins

Magna CartaChapters 21 and 39, 1215
English Petition of Rights, 1628
General Laws of New Plymouth, 1636
Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
Rhode Island Code of Laws, 1647
Fundamental Constitution of Carolina, 1669
Concessions and Agreements of West New Jersey, 1676
Pennsylvania Frame of Government, 1682
New York Rights and Privileges, 1683

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 8
New Jersey Constitution, Article XXII
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article IX
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 13
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XIX
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article IX
Georgia Constitution, Article LXI
New York Constitution, Article XLI
South Carolina Constitution, Article XLI
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XII
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Articles XV, XVII, XX, and XXI

Continental Origins

Stamp Act Congress Declaration and Resolves, 1765
First Continental Congress Declaration and Resolves, 1774
Declaration of Independence, 1776
Northwest Ordinance, 1787

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland
North Carolina
Virginia

Accusation Clause (Arraignment Clause, Informed of Accusation Clause)

English and Colonial Origins

Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
Concessions and Agreements of West New Jersey, 1676
State Constitution Origins”
Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 8
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article IX
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 14
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XIX
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article VII
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XII
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XV

State Ratifying Convention Origins”

Maryland
North Carolina
Virginia

Confrontation Clause (Right to Confront Witnesses Clause)

English and Colonial Origins

Magna CartaChapters 38, 40, and 44, 1215
Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
Concessions and Agreements of West New Jersey, 1676

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 8
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article IX
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 14
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article VII
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XII
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XV

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland
North Carolina
Virginia

Compulsory Process Clause (Right to Summon Witnesses Clause)

English and Colonial Origins

Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges, 1701
State Constitution Origins
New Jersey Constitution, Article XVI
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article IX
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 14
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XIX
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article VII
New York Constitution, Article XXXIV
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XII
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XV

State Ratifying Convention Origins

North Carolina
Virginia

Assistance of Counsel Clause (Right-to-Counsel Clause)

English and Colonial Origins

Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641

State Constitution Origins

New Jersey Constitution, Article XVI
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article XI
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 14
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XIX
New York Constitution, Article XXXIV
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XII
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XV

State Ratifying Convention Origins

Maryland
North Carolina
Virginia

Amendment Seven

Trial by Jury in Civil Cases Clause (Jury Trial Civil; Common Law and Jury Trial)

English and Colonial Origins

Magna CartaChapter 39, 1215
English Petition of Rights, 1628
General Laws of New Plymouth, 1636
Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
Rhode Island Code of Laws, 1647
Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, 1669
Concessions and Agreements of West New Jersey, 1676
Pennsylvania Frame of Government, 1682
Fundamental Constitution of East New Jersey, 1683
New York Rights and Privileges, 1683

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 11
New Jersey Constitution, Article XXII
Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article XI
Pennsylvania Constitution, Section 25
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 13
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article III
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XIV
Georgia Constitution, Articles LXI
New York Constitution, Article XIII
South Carolina Constitution, Article XLI
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XV
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XX

Continental Origins

Declaration of Independence, 1776
Northwest Ordinance, 1787

Amendment Eight

Excessive Bail and Excessive Fines Clause

English and Colonial Origins

Magna CartaChapters 20-22, 1215
Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
Pennsylvania Frame of Government, 1682
English Bill of Rights, 1689
New York Rights and Privileges, 1683

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 9
Pennsylvania Constitution, Section 29
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 16
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XXII
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article X
Georgia Constitution, Article LIX
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XXVI
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Article XXXIII

Continental Origins

Northwest Ordinance, 1787

State Ratifying Convention Origins

North Carolina
Virginia

Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause

English and Colonial Origins

Magna CartaChapters 20-22, 1215
English Petition of Rights, 1628
Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641
Pennsylvania Frame of Government, 1682
English Bill of Rights, 1689
New York Rights and Privileges, 1683

State Constitution Origins

Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 9
Pennsylvania Constitution, Sections 38 and 39
Delaware Declaration of Rights, Section 16
Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article XXII
North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article X
South Carolina Constitution, Article XL
Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XXVI
New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Articles XVIII and XXXIII

Continental Origins

Northwest Ordinance, 1787

State Ratifying Convention Origins

North Carolina
Virginia

Amendment Nine

Enumeration of Rights Clause (Rights Retained by the People Clause)

Speech on Amendments to the Constitution

Amendment Ten

Powers Not Delegated Clause (Reserved Powers of the States Clause)

State Constitution Origins

Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article IV
New Hampshire Declaration of Rights, Article VII

Continental Origins

Articles of ConfederationArticle II, 1777

State Ratifying Convention Origins

North Carolina
Virginia