James Madison Papers

Amendments to the Constitution, [17 August] 1789

Amendments to the Constitution

[17 August 1789]

Tucker moved to strike out, “No state shall infringe the equal rights of conscience, nor the freedom of speech, or of the press, nor of the right of trial by jury in criminal cases.”

Mr. Madison Conceived this to be the most valuable amendment on the whole list; if there was any reason to restrain the government of the United States from infringing upon these essential rights, it was equally necessary that they should be secured against the state governments; he thought that if they provided against the one, it was as necessary to provide against the other, and was satisfied that it would be equally grateful to the people.

Cong. Register description begins Thomas Lloyd, comp., The Congressional Register; or, History of the Proceedings and Debates of the First House of Representatives … (2 vols.; New York, 1789; Evans 22203–4). description ends , II, 227 (also reported in Gazette of the U.S., 22 Aug. 1789). Tucker’s motion lost, but the Senate later rejected this amendment.

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