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INV-27116.99 [BILL OF RIGHTS] Gazette of the United States. New York: John Fenno, September 23, 1789. 4 pp., 10⅜ x 16 in. 1789-09-23

“Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion,or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition to the government for a redress of grievances.”

After the House of Representatives proposed seventeen amendments (“Articles”), the Senate took up the debate and reduced the number to twelve. Even after the reduction, the House and Senate continued wrangling over language, especially in the third article (which would become the First Amendment) and the eighth article regarding trials (the Sixth Amendment).

The Proceedings of Congress report in this issue is dated September 23, but the Journals of the House and Senate don’t show action that day. This could provide new information on the timing of the debates, but at the least this reflects the House’s agreement on September 21 to ten points proposed earlier by the Senate. They then established a conference to resolve sixteen other points of disagreement.

On September 24, the House dropped its objections to the sixteen points, insisting only on changes in the third and eighth articles which currently stood as printed in this rare newspaper issue. Agreement on these two areas established the final Congressional text of the Bill of Rights. The Senate concurred on September 25, and the House re-affirmed its approval on September 28th when at least one engrossed copy was signed, marking the Bill of Rights’ last  legislative hurdle before being sent to the states for ratification. 

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