First US ‘Bill Of Rights’ Draft on View for Limited Time at National Archives

The National Archives Museum is always a haven for history buffs, but between now and September 10th, one rare featured document will be the veneration of every visitor.

In the summer of 1789 –- 225 years ago –- the Senate took its quill pen to 17 constitutional amendments proposed by the US House of Representatives.  Congress ultimately agreed on 12 amendments, and then only ten amendments were ratified by the states and became part of the US Constitution as the Bill of Rights in 1791.  On view now, this historic document can be seen in the museum’s “Featured Document” exhibit in the East Rotunda Gallery…. the US Senate’s 1789 draft of the Bill of Rights.

 The document on display in the National Archives Museum shows many of the Senate’s handwritten changes to the House-passed articles of amendments.  These notes and deletions reflect heated debates that took place over a variety of issues, including freedom of religion and the right to bear arms.

Located near displays of the original Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, the featured document exhibit is seen by more than one million visitors each year.

*The National Archives Museum is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW.  Museum hours are 10 am to 5:30 pm, daily. Free admission.