On this day in 1791, the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution were ratified. The Bill of Rights, as these Amendments came to be known, guaranteed personal liberties with the federal government. The First Amendment alone included the right to freedom of religion, the right to free speech, the right for the people to assemble, the right of freedom of the press and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances.
James Madison, one of the framers of the Constitution, introduced 17 amendments on individual liberties to the House of Representatives in June 1789. Congress passed 12 of them; two years later in 1791, the states ratified ten.