1941 December 15

FDR Establishes Bill of Rights Day


December 15th is celebrated as Bill of Rights Day because it marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights. On this day in 1791 Virginia became the 10th state to ratify the Bill of Rights, providing the two-thirds of states necessary for adoption. (There were 14 states at the time.) Bill of Rights Day was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on this day, the 150th anniversary of the ratification.

Constitution Day, marking the signing of the Constitution, is celebrated annually on September 17th. See September 17, 1787; and September 17, 1939, for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s troubling speech marking the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution.

FDR’s Proclamation (excerpt): “It is fitting that the anniversary of its adoption should be remembered by the Nation which, for one hundred and fifty years, has enjoyed the immeasurable privileges which that charter guaranteed: the privileges of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the free right to petition the Government for redress of grievances.”

Learn more: Richard Lubansky, James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights (2006)

Read: Paul L. Murphy, ed., Historic Background of the Bill of Rights, Vol. 1 (Bill of Rights and American Legal History) (1990)

Learn more at the Bill of Rights Institute: http://billofrightsinstitute.org/resources/educator-resources/bill-of-rights-day/

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