News Column

National Archives Museum Presents 1789 Senate Mark-up of the Bill of Rights

August 15, 2014

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 -- The National Archives and Records Administration issued the following news release:

In the summer of 1789, the Senate marked up 17 constitutional amendments proposed by the House of Representatives. This original document with many of the Senate's handwritten changes is now on display in the National Archives Museum'sEast Rotunda Gallery through September 10. This display is free and open to the public. The National Archives Museum's "Featured Documents" exhibit is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives ( through the generous support of Toyota.

The National Archives Museum is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Metro accessible on Yellow or Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial station. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily. Free admission. The building is fully accessible.


On June 8, 1789, Representative James Madison of Virginia introduced a series of proposed amendments to the newly ratified U.S. Constitution. That summer the House of Representatives debated Madison's proposal, and on August 24 the House passed 17 amendments to be added to the Constitution. Those 17 amendments were then sent to the Senate.

From September 2 to September 9, the debate continued in the Senate where the amendments were further revised and recast. The document on display in the National Archives Museum shows many of the Senate's handwritten changes to the House-passed articles of amendments. After further debate and additional votes, Congress passed 12 amendments that were sent to the states for approval. Ten of the amendments were ratified by the required three-fourths of the states and became part of the Constitution in 1791. These first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.

Additional information and high resolution images ( are online [].

Coming soon: Featured Document Display on the 1814 Burning of Washington East Rotunda Gallery, September 11 - November 3, 2014

During the War of 1812, British forces occupied Washington, burning the White House and other government buildings. Just weeks later the Americans held off the British at the Battle of Baltimore including a 25 hour bombardment of Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to "The Star Spangled Banner" 200 years ago.

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Source: Targeted News Service

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