are limited to points which are important in the eyes of many
and can be objectionable in those of none. The structure & stamina
of Govt. are as little touched as possible.
James Madison to Edmund Randolph, June 15, 1789
to the Constitutional Convention had suggested adding a Bill of
Rights to the Constitution, but the idea generated little support.
When opponents of the Constitution used the lack of a Bill of Rights
to whip up opposition to ratification the issue resurfaced. Several
states adopted the new Constitution because its supporters promised
that Congress would take up the issue and amend the Constitution.
James Madison of Virginia had originally thought a Bill of Rights
was unnecessary, but by the time of the First Congress he realized
that such amendments were a political necessity. On June 8, 1789,
with the support of President Washington, Madison proposed several
amendments on the House floor. In September, after reorganizing
the proposals several times, Congress submitted 12 amendments for
ratification. On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the 11th state
to ratify 10 of the 12 proposed. These became the first 10 amendments
to the Constitution. The two that failed dealt with the size of
the House and with congressional pay raises. The latter, however,
was eventually ratified by the states in 1992 and became the 27th
Amendment to the Constitution.