Talk:United States Bill of Rights

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What's going on here? Why is this document titled United States Bill of Rights? People, children seeking to be educated, for example on the exact wording of the amendments, are directed to this site. I agree with some of the previous commenters who say change the content. For anyone interested in a transcript of the actual document, see <> --Dan.sampey (talk) 14:14, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Maybe you are unfamilar with the standard navigation in our header. The Amendments are accessed by clicking on Other Amendments on the right hand side of the green bar across the top. — George Orwell III (talk) 14:28, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I believe that the amendments are out of order??? unsigned comment by CaptainCookie (talk) .

    • The Bill of Rights as proposed and submitted to the states included 12 amendment, "Article the first" was never ratified Ratified and "Article the second" was ratified May 5, 1992--Lookatthis (talk) 02:39, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
    • Yes, but these amendments are not included in the Bill of Rights as studied by most American schoolchildren. Also, only the first ten are listed on the Wikipedia page. unsigned comment by CaptainCookie (talk) .
I agree. If we wish to talk about how the amendments were introduced, we would include all 12. The actual Bill of Rights, however, is only the first ten Amendments. This is evidenced by the fact that the 27th Amendment, though part of the original list, is not considered part of the Bill of Rights despite its passage. Thus, I would suggest that this article be moved to whatever the title of the bill was and a new article containing just the 10 Amendments be created at United States Bill of Rights - an appropriate change considering that the other amendment articles contain the text of the amendments, not of the legislation proposing them. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 23:22, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

I added some additional notation to indicate which articles were ratified Amendments in the Constitution, I am not sure if this is the best way to do this, but many people will coming here looking for that information, and it should be clearly indicated for the uninitiated to avoid confusion. I believe t is clearly in the spirit of this article's title.

what the heck is going on here? This is not the bill of rights. -- 20:03, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

You're right. As I noted above, this is the bill that proposed the Bill of Rights, not the actual Bill of Rights. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 11:18, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Does this transcription match the linked images of an original document? Cygnis insignis (talk) 12:06, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

There is are four images, the first of which is included in United States Bill of Rights. The others may be seen at the file: page, File:Bill of Rights Pg1of1 AC.jpg. The writing on the images is too faint for me to tell whether it matches. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 14:42, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
The File:Constitution_Pg4of4_AC.jpg etc., is another document. I could only find page 1 on commons. Cygnis insignis (talk) 16:58, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Ok, if you look at the linked documents above at 100% of Full Resolution (4,318×4,592), this appears to match the original text as in the Bill of Rights (except for the hanging indents after each Article heading and perhaps a few other fine details of the formatting).

The problem is the labeling and ratification which makes this format of presenting the Bill of rights extremely difficult to read. It is also linked from the Wikipedia US Constitution List of Amendments page and doesn't line up with this list.

Furthermore, it doesn't match the commonly referred format... so if someone tells you that their First Amendment Rights were violated, then you would know it was "Article the third", freedom of speech and religion. This certainly makes it confusing when using it as reference material.

I'd suggest putting a bracket in Bold Caps on the line before each Article. This would not degrade from the spirit of the original document, and would make it much easier to read and understand.


Article the first...

[AMENDMENT XXVII (27) Ratified May 5, 1992]

Article the second...

[AMENDMENT I (1) Ratified December 15, 1791]

Article the third...

[Amendment II (2) Ratified December 15, 1791]

Article the fourth...

(etc)Keelec (talk) 04:48, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

That seems like a very reasonable change to this page Keelc, if someone else agrees I will make the change. Stidmatt (talk) 04:21, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Wikisource's mission is to attempt to reproduce the original content as it was first published/presented as faithfully as possible -- not to educate, expand, enlighten, explain, etc. to the readers such nuances found within that content or its presentation. That kind of stuff is what Wikipedia is for.

We are here to back up the content generated by people on Wikipedia as a possible reference source (hence; WikiSource)... and FYI, most deviations (like the ones proposed) contrary to the basic mission principles of wikisource will probably get reverted sooner or later. -- George Orwell III (talk) 04:35, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Current Bill of Rights[edit]

Moved from User talk:Jack Merridew, where this discussion started.--Chaser (talk) 21:55, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

I came across this after watching members of my national legislature reading it on YouTube. Oddly, it does not match the Bill of Rights as most Americans know them, being the Amendments that were actually enacted. The Wikisource version also contains those proposed, but not then or ever enacted. It is protected, so I cannot edit it. I see from your protection policy that final versions are protected to stop well-meaning spelling corrections, etc. I don't think this is such a case. There is a fundamental disagreement about whether content at that location should be the proposed Bill of Rights or the existing Bill of Rights. I think that location ought to contain the Bill of Rights as passed by the founders. Everyone who makes any argument on the talk page thinks the same thing. Do you have any suggestions for the best way of effecting this change? This is obviously not my home-wiki.--Chaser (talk) 18:37, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Hi, Chaser. Obviously this should be sorted-out ;) At the moment, I'm traveling, and have very limited time for any wiki-activity. 12, huh; surprised me. That doc is intended to be a faithful reproduction of Commons:File:Bill of Rights Pg1of1 AC.jpg, which lists all twelve proposed amendments. If there are any typos they should, of course, be corrected, and the formatting could be fussed with if there are good reasons (and I see some markup that could be better and I may make a few gentle tweaks. There's no real reason that we could not have a doc that is the usual 10, and if there's much fuss about which gets the standard name (your section title, above), we could opt for a disambig page. This should be carefully discussed, and it seems, to me, to offer a fine opportunity for cross-wiki collaboration; and not just w/en:wp and ws; most other of significant size will have links to that page, so the ramifications of any shift need to be looked into. I certainly see merit in your view that most people will expect to see ten at that title, not twelve, and to see them with the usual numbers. First stop, here, should be a post to Wikisource:Scriptorium to get the input of the regulars, here. nb: to link to that from en:wp, you would use: [[s:Wikisource:Scriptorium#United States Bill of Rights]] (assuming a section name, not yet created).
Also, the current norm on ws is to work from w:DjVu files; they've both a scan and an OCR layer; we work page-by-page and then tranclude them all into a presentation layer. For example:
It would be ideal if .DjVu files were found of both, really, and then both refactored to use the page namespace-approach. I do check-in most days and will chip-in to any discussion you start or I can get it going, if you'd like...
Cheers, Jack Merridew 22:56, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
(ec)That page is the text of that historic document, not what is in US legislation. If there is an alternate document then we will happily host that text too, and if it is of the same name, we will disambiguate the page and link to each respective document. To remember that Wikisource is a library of documents and works, not the encyclopaedia, that is Wikipedia:. We reproduce what it is, others can do the interpretation. — billinghurst sDrewth 22:59, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
If not a DJVU of the requisite documents, then a PDF and it can be converted, or we can do a text dump and proofread against such. — billinghurst sDrewth 23:01, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Sure re pdf; the issue really is the numbering; common usage vs the numbering in the list of twelve is a ratio of millions to one, so there is merit in also hosting a definitive copy of the ten that are bedrock US law. Given this, I expect that a consensus could easily emerge that this doc gets moved to ... (proposed) and the ten live at this title; note that the document itself does not include the term "United States Bill of Rights"; that's a name applied afterwards to the passed-ten, as the introductory blurb says. Cheers, Jack Merridew 23:19, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Lots to discuss here, for sure. We've got numerous djvu versions of the constitution through history, but it would be good to find a post 1992 version that was clean, authoritative, and unannotated. —Spangineer (háblame) 23:28, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
@Chaser, again; as on en:wp, my page is heavily watched, by the regulars ;) billinghurst is a good egg, and is about the most active regular here. Cheers, Jack Merridew 23:19, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

There is a whole lot to discuss, and to me there is some scope for some of the work being done at Wikisource:WikiProject Law. If there are various versions of the work, we should be labelling the page as {{versions}} and throwing out lots of disambiguation links. Also some scope for breaking our usual approach. — billinghurst sDrewth 00:55, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

OK. Thanks everyone for the helpful feedback you've provided. To clarify, I'm not suggesting that the content of the current page be deleted, but moving it and creating a page for the Bill of Rights as passed (BOR-10) seems to have the agreement of everyone here. I obviously think the BOR-10 should be at this title and BOR-12 at something else, like "Proposed US Bill of Rights". But if the consensus is to make this title a disambiguation page, I can live with that.

I will check the law library for an authoritative printed version of the Constitution. If I find one printed by the US government, even from before 1992, would it be helpful to scan it as a PDF and upload it as PD-Gov? Or do you really want one after 1992?--Chaser (talk) 17:52, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

1992 is the year of the most recent amendment, so the current constitution would be reflected by any post-1992 version. There are several official versions online (This is one example) of the entire constitution. A significant question is whether to put the full constitution at Constitution of the United States of America (with anchors that allow linking to amendments 1-10 and 11-27) or just the unamended historical version. —Spangineer (háblame) 18:33, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
Can I set the proper challenge? We should be hosting EVERY official version through time annotated with its date of effect. Having one is nice, however, it is the differences through time that tell the proper historical story of life and add value to the encyclopaedic article at WP. — billinghurst sDrewth
It is easy to say 'host EVERY official version' but how do get around the long-standing mess of current mainspace articles and their tangents at the same time? The U.S. Constitution is not codified in the traditional sense - i.e. the later amendments do not technically strike & replace the original text, producing "updated" versions along the way as other Constitutions & statutes may be over time. - George Orwell III (talk) 03:52, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

OK. I have scanned and uploaded File:United States Constitution 2006.pdf. A few things:

  1. The last three pages are the title page, the preface by the House Speaker, and an editor's note. It is trivial to remove these with Acrobat Pro, which I have. I think I can move them around just as easily, so if they should be in the front, that can be done.
  2. There is an analytical index that I did not scan, but I can if that would be helpful. As an example, the first entry is "Abridged. The privileges or immunities of the United States shall not be. [Amendments]..." with a citation to Art. 14, Sec. 1.
  3. I did optical character recognition on a copy that I have offline. I'm not sure what the copyright status of the document would be with that additional metadata. Does anyone know offhand whether Adobe has a claim over that? In any case, I can email it to anyone that wants it. Just drop me a line and I'll be happy to send it to you.
  4. My library has various previous editions of the U.S. Code. The earliest copy I saw with the Constitution was from 1919 (containing Amendments 1-17). I did not look at what versions of the Code we have between 1919 and 2006, but I assume they were printed on some schedule other than that of Constitutional Amendment, so the library may not even have every version since 1919. I can scan whatever is available, but please look at this version and explain to me why scanning others would be helpful. It takes about 15 minutes to scan each one, and the books are old and fragile, so I'd like to know what additional benefit that has to WikiSource before I do it.
See Constitution in Organic Laws, Statutes at Large, Volume 1 for earliest official re-print of Constitution + the first 10 amendments. -- George Orwell III (talk) 23:23, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Comments on any of this?--Chaser (talk) 21:55, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

The first 10 amendments passed pursuant to Article V are "known" as the Bill of Rights. You're right that they should be listed as Amendments 1 thru 10 as well as hosting the original 12 proposed as a resolution (no number). My fellow Americans are largely political lemmings (with 7 minute attention spans broken up by commercials) who need to be led to water (or off a cliff, etc.) to survive so you are probably right that the notes section of the current Bill of Rights is not enough to make things clear enough for them. -- George Orwell III (talk) 23:23, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

First amendment wrong?[edit]

The first amendment looks completely wrong. "After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every 30,000..."? That looks like the Northwest Ordinance. ProtoFire (talk) 02:21, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Articles 3 thru 12 became Amendments 1 thru 10 of the Constitution. Article 2 became the 27th Amendment. Article 1 was never ratified. This is a transcription of how the Bill of Rights were first laid down, not what is considered the Bill of Rights (1st - 10th Amendments to the COTUS) today. -- George Orwell III (talk) 02:28, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

this is not the bill of rights, this is not the first 10 amendments the bill of rights, more accuratly the first ten amendments are: Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

unsigned comment by Elijah sere (talk) .