Amendments Proposed by
the Virginia Convention
June 27, 1788
That there be a Declaration or Bill of Rights asserting and securing from
encroachment the essential and unalienable Rights of the People in some such
manner as the following;
First, That there are certain natural rights of which men, when they form a
social compact cannot deprive or divest their posterity, among which are the
enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing and
protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Second. That all power is naturally vested in and consequently derived from
the people; that Magistrates, therefore, are their trustees and agents and at
all times amenable to them.
Third, That Government ought to be instituted for the common benefit,
protection and security of the People; and that the doctrine of non-resistance
against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd slavish, and destructive of
the good and happiness of mankind.
Fourth, That no man or set of Men are entitled to exclusive or seperate
[sic] public emoluments or privileges from the community, but in Consideration
of public services; which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of
Magistrate, Legislator or Judge, or any other public office to be hereditary.
Fifth, That the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers of Government
should be seperate [sic] and distinct, and that the members of the two first
may be restrained from oppression by feeling and participating the public
burthens, they should, at fixt periods be reduced to a private station, return
into the mass of the people; and the vacancies be supplied by certain and
regular elections; in which all or any part of the former members to be
eligible or ineligible, as the rules of the Constitution of Government, and the
laws shall direct.
Sixth, That elections of representatives in the legislature ought to be free
and frequent, and all men having sufficient evidence of permanent common
interest with and attachment to the Community ought to have the right of
suffrage: and no aid, charge, tax or fee can be set, rated, or levied upon the
people without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected,
nor can they be bound by any law to which they have not in like manner assented
for the public good.
Seventh, That all power of suspending laws or the execution of laws by any
authority, without the consent of the representatives of the people in the
legislature is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.
Eighth, That in all capital and criminal prosecutions, a man hath a right to
demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the
accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence and be allowed counsel in his
favor, and to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial Jury of his vicinage,
without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, (except in the
government of the land and naval forces) nor can he be compelled to give
evidence against himself.
Ninth. That no freeman ought to be taken, imprisoned, or disseised of his
freehold, liberties, privileges or franchises, or outlawed or exiled, or in any
manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty or property but by the law of
Tenth. That every freeman restrained of his liberty is entitled to a remedy
to enquire into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove the same, if unlawful,
and that such remedy ought not to be denied nor delayed.
Eleventh. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between
man and man, the ancient trial by Jury is one of the greatest Securities to the
rights of the people, and ought to remain sacred and inviolable.
Twelfth. That every freeman ought to find a certain remedy by recourse to
the laws for all injuries and wrongs he may receive in his person, property or
character. He ought to obtain right and justice freely without sale, compleatly
[sic] and without denial, promptly and without delay, and that all
establishments or regulations contravening these rights, are oppressive and
Thirteenth, That excessive Bail ought not be required, nor excessive fines
imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Fourteenth, That every freeman has a right to be secure from all
unreasonable searches and siezures [sic] of his person, his papers and his
property; all warrants, therefore, to search suspected places, or sieze [sic]
any freeman, his papers or property, without information upon Oath (or
affirmation of a person religiously scrupulous of taking an oath) of legal and
sufficient cause, are grievous and oppressive; and all general Warrants to
search suspected places, or to apprehend any suspected person, without
specially naming or describing the place or person, are dangerous and ought not
to be granted.
Fifteenth, That the people have a right peaceably to assemble together to
consult for the common good, or to instruct their Representatives; and that
every freeman has a right to petition or apply to the legislature for redress
Sixteenth, That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing
and publishing their Sentiments; but the freedom of the press is one of the
greatest bulwarks of liberty and ought not to be violated.
Seventeenth, That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well
regulated Militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the
proper, natural and safe defence of a free State. That standing armies in time
of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as
the circumstances and protection of the Community will admit; and that in all
cases the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the
Eighteenth, That no Soldier in time of peace ought to be quartered in any
house without the consent of the owner, and in time of war in such manner only
as the laws direct.
Nineteenth, That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to
be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his
Twentieth, That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the
manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by
force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural and unalienable
right to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience,
and that no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or
established by Law in preference to others.
AMENDMENTS TO THE BODY OF THE CONSTITUTION
First, That each State in the Union shall respectively retain every power,
jurisdiction and right which is not by this Constitution delegated to the
Congress of the United States or to the departments of the Foederal [sic]
Second, That there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand,
according to the Enumeration or Census mentioned in the Constitution, until the
whole number of representatives amounts to two hundred; after which that number
shall be continued or en-creased [sic] as the Congress shall direct, upon the
principles fixed by the Constitution by apportioning the Representatives of
each State to some greater number of people from time to time as population
Third, When Congress shall lay direct taxes or excises, they shall
immediately inform the Executive power of each State of the quota of such state
according to the Census herein directed, which is proposed to be thereby
raised; And if the Legislature of any State shall pass a law which shall be
effectual for raising such quota at the time required by Congress, the taxes
and excises laid by Congress shall not be collected, in such State.
Fourth, That the members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be
ineligible to, and incapable of holding, any civil office under the authority
of the United States, during the time for which they shall respectively be
Fifth, That the Journals of the proceedings of the Senate and House of
Representatives shall be published at least once in every year, except such
parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances or military operations, as in
their judgment require secrecy.
Sixth, That a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures
of all public money shall be published at least once in every year.
Seventh, That no commercial treaty shall be ratified without the concurrence
of two thirds of the whole number of the members of the Senate; and no Treaty
ceding, contracting, restraining or suspending the territorial rights or claims
of the United States, or any of them or their, or any of their rights or claims
to fishing in the American seas, or navigating the American rivers shall be
[made] but in cases of the most urgent and extreme necessity, nor shall any
such treaty be ratified without the concurrence of three fourths of the whole
number of the members of both houses respectively.
Eighth, That no navigation law, or law regulating Commerce shall be passed
without the consent of two thirds of the Members present in both houses.
Ninth, That no standing army or regular troops shall be raised or kept up in
time of peace, without the consent of two thirds of the members present in both
Tenth, That no soldier shall be inlisted [sic] for any longer term than four
years, except in time of war, and then for no longer term than the continuance
of the war.
Eleventh, That each State respectively shall have the power to provide for
organizing, arming and disciplining it's own Militia, whensoever Congress shall
omit or neglect to provide for the same. That the Militia shall not be subject
to Martial law, except when in actual service in time of war, invasion, or
rebellion; and when not in the actual service of the United States, shall be
subject only to such fines, penalties and punishments as shall be directed or
inflicted by the laws of its own State.
Twelfth That the exclusive power of legislation given to Congress over the
Foederal [sic] Town and its adjacent District and other places purchased or to
be purchased by Congress of any of the States shall extend only to such
regulations as respect the police and good government thereof.
Thirteenth, That no person shall be capable of being President of the United
States for more than eight years in any term of sixteen years.
Fourteenth That the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in
one supreme Court, and in such courts of Admiralty as Congress may from time to
time ordain and establish in any of the different States: The Judicial power
shall extend to all cases in Law and Equity arising under treaties made, or
which shall be made under the authority of the United States; to all cases
affecting ambassadors other foreign ministers and consuls; to all cases of
Admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United
States shall be a party; to controversies between two or [more] States, and
between parties claiming lands under the grants of different States. In all
cases affecting ambassadors, other foreign ministers and Consuls, and those in
which a State shall be a party, the supreme court shall have original
jurisdiction; in all other cases before mentioned the supreme Court shall have
appellate jurisdiction as to matters of law only: except in cases of equity,
and of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, in which the Supreme Court shall
have appellate jurisdiction both as to law and fact, with such exceptions and
under such regulations as the Congress shall make. But the judicial power of
the United States shall extend to no case where the cause of action shall have
originated before the ratification of this Constitution; except in disputes
between States about their Territory, disputes between persons claiming lands
under the grants of different States, and suits for debts due to the United
Fifteenth, That in criminal prosecutions no man shall be restrained in the
exercise of the usual and accustomed right of challenging or excepting to the
Sixteenth, That Congress shall not alter, modify or interfere in the times,
places, or manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives or
either of them, except when the legislature of any State shall neglect, refuse
or be disabled by invasion or rebellion to prescribe the same.
Seventeenth, That those clauses which declare that Congress shall not
exercise certain powers be not interpreted in any manner whatsoever to extend
the powers of Congress. But that they may be construed either as making
exceptions to the specified powers where this shall be the case, or otherwise
as inserted merely for greater caution.
Eighteenth, That the laws ascertaining the compensation to Senators and
Representatives for their services be postponed in their operation, until after
the election of Representatives immediately succeeding the passing thereof;
that excepted, which shall first be passed on the Subject.
Nineteenth, That some Tribunal other than the Senate be provided for trying
impeachments of Senators.
Twentieth, That the Salary of a Judge shall not be encreased [sic] or
diminished during his continuance in Office, otherwise than by general
regulations of Salary which may take place on a revision of the subject at
stated periods of not less than seven years to commence from the time such
Salaries shall be first ascertained by Congress.
Contents | Text Version
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