Bill of Rights Day brings 1791 to 2016

Bill of Rights Day

Last week, Alexander Hamilton, portrayed by William Chrystal, and Thomas Jefferson, portrayed by Steve Edenbo of the American Historical Theatre, visited the Newseum to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. This important founding document, composed of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, was ratified on Dec. 15, 1791, and enshrined greater protection of individual liberties, including the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

Bill of Rights Day was celebrated with a full day of family-oriented programs, including a reading of the Bill of Rights, a discussion between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, and a debate of contemporary First Amendment issues. Students from across the Washington, D.C., area learned about free expression and the freedoms guaranteed to them in the Bill of Rights, and how they remain protected (and challenged) today.

As Hamilton and Jefferson (as portrayed by the historical interpreters) emphasized in their discussion, the Constitution was not designed to limit citizen rights, but to set limitations on the powers of government, and that is why we continue to celebrate the Bill of Rights today.

Photo Gallery

You can find more images from Bill of Rights Day on the Newseum’s Flickr page.

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