Dec. 15 is officially celebrated as the Bill of Rights Day. It is observed every year to commemorate the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the constitution that confirms the fundamental rights of the United States’ citizens. This year will mark the 226th anniversary of this ratification. The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments of the constitution.

The various amendments guarantee the rights of the people. From giving freedom of religion, speech, the press, and the rights of peaceful assembly and petition, these amendments also gives citizens the right to possess arms, right to private property, fair treatment for accused criminals, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, freedom from self-incrimination, a right to fair trial, and also representation by a counsel.

So, here are eight interesting facts to read and share on Bill of Rights Day.

  1. According to the Library of Congress, the Bill of Rights was widely influenced by the Magna Carta (1215), the English Bill of Rights (1689), and various other efforts undertaken by England and America to expand fundamental rights.
  2. The basis of the amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights was formed from George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights.
  3. The then president of the U.S., Franklin D. Roosevelt, designated Dec. 15, 1941, as Bill of Rights Day.  On that day he said, “I call upon the officials of the Government, and upon the people of the United States, to observe the day by displaying the flag of the United States on public buildings and by meeting together for such prayers and such ceremonies as may seem to them appropriate,” according to the  official website of the American Presidency Project. According to the National Archives, Roosevelt referred to the document as “the great American charter of personal liberty and human dignity.”
  4. The bill was pioneered by James Madison who later became the 4th president of the United States, according to the National Day Calendar.
  5. Madison penned 19 amendments but the House of Representatives approved only 17 and later the Senate, with the approval of the House, brought it down to 12. These 12 amendments were approved Sept. 25, 1789. However, only ten were taken up in the Bill of Rights.
  6. More than 200 years later, compensation of Congressman was ratified in 1992. It is now the 27th amendment of the Bill of Rights.
  7. The Bill of Rights is on display in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
  8. Initially, there were 14 copies of the Bill of Rights — one for each of the 13 states to sign and one for the federal archives. However, as of date, only 12 copies are left.