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Meet Amazing Americans U.S. Presidents James Madison
 
Madison's notes from a speech introducing the Bill of Rights
Madison's notes from a speech introducing the Bill of Rights

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James Madison's Contribution to the Constitution
In 1789, as a member of the newly created U.S. House of Representatives, James Madison introduced the first amendments (additions) to the Constitution, which are now known as the Bill of Rights. Ratification of the Constitution by some states was based on the expectation that the Constitution would be changed by amendments such as these. Madison originally drafted 19 amendments, 12 of which his congressional colleagues passed on to the states for their approval. On December 15, 1791, 10 had been ratified by enough states to become part of the Constitution.

These amendments guarantee our individual rights as citizens, such as the freedom of speech, religion and the press (in the First Amendment). Seen here is a copy of Madison's notes for his speech introducing the Bill of Rights on the floor of the House of Representatives. In 1785, Madison had written one of the most significant essays regarding separation of religion and government (often referred to as the separation of church and state), which no doubt gave him inspiration for some of the Bill of Rights.

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