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Celebrating Freedom: The 225th Anniversary of the U.S. Bill of Rights

Celebrating Freedom: The 225th Anniversary of the U.S. Bill of Rights is a Special Report prepared by The Washington Times Advocacy Department.

Recent Stories

Media endorsements under review after divisive election

The newspaper editorial is emblematic of press freedom and the right of free expression that are at the heart of our democracy. However, especially in light of the recent election, is the newspaper editorial another victim of the disruption that is upending journalism?

James Madison: Champion of the 'cause of conscience'

No cause was dearer to James Madison's heart than the cause of conscience. And no founder of our country was more responsible for what is now the world's boldest and most successful experiment in religious freedom, or liberty of conscience, for all.

A short history of the Bill of Rights

A central part of my work as executive director of The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) is educating American citizens about the United States Constitution.

Madison and the 'counterbalancing of human interests'

As the president of the public university named for the man who drafted the Bill of Rights and as a lawyer, I have often witnessed tensions as colleges and universities struggle to balance rights of free expression with equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination. This balancing act is messy, complicated and emblematic of a struggle that James Madison and the other Founders addressed head-on: How do we ensure the rights of a diverse citizenry while maintaining conditions that would bind together an evolving population into a nation with a collective sense of civic purpose?

There is freedom in compromise

By the closing gavel of America's first Congress, a new representative government of the people had made the dreams of the Constitution's drafters real, enshrining the first rights of conscience, petition, privacy and the rule of law into a Bill of Rights.

Saving the Bill of Rights through education

I have been wondering what James Madison, the namesake of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation, would think about the 2016 presidential contest. Madison, commonly acknowledged as the Father of the Bill of Rights, did not shy away from political controversy, but even he may have been chagrined at the tone and tenor of our recent election.

Why the First Amendment is 'first in importance'

The First Amendment is first, not simply because it falls at the beginning of a list of amendments, but because it articulates the first freedom and the nature of that freedom. It guarantees the freedom essential to humans as rational beings.

George Mason: The Virginia statesman who insisted on a bill of rights

"That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."

Patrick Henry and the Bill of Rights

"You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your government."

Founders' view of freedom of speech and the press

For a century or more, judges, academics, politicians, news personalities and everyday Americans have debated just what the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech means.

Sixth Amendment: How one man's courage saved 'trial by jury'

Historians don't know very much about 17th century London merchant Edward Bushel. He was neither prominent nor, as far as we know, unusual in other respects. Yet in 1670, with 11 other ordinary Londoners, he put his freedom and livelihood at stake rather than bow to lawless, menacing authority.

James Madison and the 'acrobatic history' of the Ninth Amendment

The history of constitutional interpretation is notorious for its occasional contortions of speech and logic. But in the case of the Ninth Amendment, history has been truly acrobatic. Whereas the original purpose of this amendment was to guard against expansions of federal power, its recent interpretations have tended (you guessed it) to expand federal authority.

The enduring teaching of the 27th Amendment

The Constitution's 27th Amendment — sometimes known as the "Compensation" or "Rip Van Winkle" amendment -- reads: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened."

Our 'two' Bills of Rights

The first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution, widely known as the American Bill of Rights, were adopted in 1791 under pressure from the Antifederalist opponents of the Constitution.

The 10th Amendment and revival of federalism

There has always been scant argument among constitutional scholars about which of the amendments in the Bill of Rights is most important. Most of course will answer that it is the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion and petition for government redress of grievances.

Conserving the uniquely exportable Bill of Rights

In 2012, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg travelled to Egypt to tell an audience that they should not seek to model their own constitution after that of the United States.