Preserving Freedom of Speech, Press…and the Story of How We Got There
August 18, 2014
Washington, D.C. Aug. 18, 2014 --
The Bill of Rights embodies liberties many Americans take for granted, but our Founders were not always in agreement about what those liberties should be. And now National Archives visitors can view evidence of those heated debates.
The Senate’s draft of the Bill of Rights from 1789, now on display in the “Featured Document” exhibit sponsored by Toyota, reveals numerous handwritten edits that took place in determining the road map for American freedoms.
The Senate’s heavily edited draft is available to the public just around the corner from the final version of the Bill of Rights from 1791, which is on permanent display in the National Archives’ famous Rotunda as one of America’s Charters of Freedom. Visitors can compare the Senate’s revisions to the final language in the Bill of Rights, revealing the democratic process in action.
The public exhibition of this historical draft and other extraordinary documents in the National Archives Museum’s “Featured Documents” exhibit is made possible in part by a $100,000 gift to the National Archives Foundation from Toyota.
“Toyota is proud to help present these defining documents, which in many ways are the basis of our democracy,” said Michael Rouse, President of the Toyota USA Foundation. “We believe this is a perfect way to give back to society and contribute in a meaningful way to the rich history of our nation where we have invested for nearly 60 years.”
Toyota's gift has thus far supported the display of historical documents such as the GI Bill and President Richard Nixon's resignation letter. The Senate’s draft of the Bill of Rights is one of ten such historic documents that will be on display at the National Archives over the coming months.
Throughout its display at the National Archives and after, visitors can view and learn about the Bill of Rights draft online thanks to support from Toyota: http://www.archives.gov/museum/visit/featured-documents.html
To see past documents presented in the “Featured Document” exhibit sponsored by Toyota, please visit: http://www.archivesfoundation.org/featured-records/
About the Senate’s Revisions to the Bill of Rights
On June 8, 1789, Representative James Madison of Virginia introduced a series of proposed amendments to the newly ratified U.S. Constitution. That summer the House of Representatives debated Madison’s proposal, and on August 24 the House passed 17 amendments to be added to the Constitution. Those 17 amendments were then sent to the Senate.
From September 2 to September 9, the debate continued in the Senate where the amendments were further revised and recast. The document on display in the National Archives Museum shows many of the Senate's handwritten changes to the House-passed articles of amendments. After further debate and additional votes, Congress passed 12 amendments that were sent to the states for approval. Ten of the amendments were ratified by the required three-fourths of the states and became part of the Constitution in 1791. These first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.
Located near displays of the original Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, the featured document exhibit is seen by more than one million visitors each year.
About the National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives is a public trust upon which our democracy depends, ensuring access to essential evidence that protects the rights of American citizens, documents the actions of the government, and reveals the evolving national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at http://www.archives.gov
About the Foundation for the National Archives
The Foundation for the National Archives is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. (archivesfoundation.org)
Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. There are nearly 1,500 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in the United States, which sold more than 2.2 million vehicles in 2013. Toyota directly employs over 32,000 in the United States and its investment here is currently valued at more than $20 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from U.S. suppliers totals over $32.2 billion. www.toyota.com/usa