Pop quiz: What is the Bill of Rights?
Don't worry — your right to be wrong is protected.
Quick pop quiz: What is the Bill of Rights? What do the rights outline? When did they become law?
If you don’t remember exactly what the Bill of Rights is or what it does, it’s probably also news to you that today is “Bill of Rights Day.” Saturday Dec. 15, 2012 marks the 221st anniversary of the Dec. 15, 1791 signing into law of what many historians consider the most dynamic and important document in our nation’s history. That’s saying something in the face of serious competition from The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.
More from Daily Dose: Top Tweets of 2012
The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The amendments were drafted by James Madison, who at the time was a member of the House of Representatives. Back in the 1780s, a number of state reps had begun chafing at the apparent limitless power given to the federal government by the Constitution, and wanted the individual rights of their constituencies protected. Madison led this charge by recommending changes to the actual wording of the Constitution. This notion — then as now — was looked upon as heresy.
Bing: Bill of Rights Day news
Madison and his colleagues reconsidered their approach and instead submitted the changes as amendments, which could be viewed as “improvements” to the nearly sacred document. The initial 17 amendments were whittled down via voting to a basic ten. These were approved state by state, and with Virginia ratifying on December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect.
More from Daily Dose: Seismologists reveal earthquake hotspots
When people get up in arms over government intrusion into their lives, it’s the Bill Of Rights that they’re figuratively waving in defiance. The bill covers all the individual liberties that define America’s system of government at its best: establishing freedom of speech and freedom of the press; keeping government out of religion; the right to bear arms; the right to a fair and speedy trial; protection against unreasonable search and seizure of one’s home; and the prevention of cruel and unusual punishment in criminal sentences.
The Constitution has since been amended an additional 17 times, but these first ten have provided U.S. citizens with the rights that we exercise, but perhaps don’t fully appreciate, every day.
Photo: Dieter Spears/Getty Images
More from Daily Dose:
Do employers hire drinking buddies?
10 trends to watch in 2013
Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s top 10 words for 2012
inspire: live a better life
Happify shares their results of a recent study on how money affects our happiness.
A top exec reveals the company's secret code
Pro tips from the guy who's done it four times
Not all mistakes are as blatant as posting party pics when you're 'sick' at home.
Everyone struggles through weekday drudgery to reach their weekend fun. But what if you could reclaim every day of your life?
Zooming up the ladder is great, but questioning yourself 24/7 is no way to succeed. Manage your stressed self with these surefire tips.
Forget trying to control every little detail. Life is lots more fun (and less stressful) when you let go from the get-go.
So, what exactly is this thing we call "happiness" and how do we get it?
Mark Zuckerberg has an even bigger effect on your life than you thought.
Everyone makes mistakes, but some mistakes can be devastating. Here are 10 icons who fell from grace, and what they can do to redeem themselves.
Twitter turns eight years old today.
Try these anything-but-ordinary ideas for a healthier, more productive mid-day break.