The Bill of Rights is one of our keystones as Americans. A set of unshakable, inalienable rights granted to us due to being citizens of the United States. Honoring this document in our upcoming auction in June is a Bill of Rights knife by none-other than Linda Karst.
So I got to thinking, and realized it might be fun to offer a sneak peek at the knife we’ll be auctioning off, alongside a handful of facts about the Bill of Rights. Let’s take a look!
1: The Bill of Rights was heavily influenced by the Magna Carta
In 1215, King John of England faced an uprising, and a group of rebels captured London and forced King John to sign a sixty-three clause document that limited the king’s powers. Among them, a guaranteed
right to trial by jury of peers. This document was later repealed, but replaced by one of similar scope and design. In fact, the 1225 version is responsible for almost half the bills within our Bill of Rights
2: Franklin D. Roosevelt was the one who christened December 15th as Bill of Rights Day as a means of celebrating the document’s anniversary
3: The Original Bill of Rights had 12 proposed articles, but only ten were ratified (Numbers 3-12)
4: Due to the work of an undergraduate, one of these discarded bills ended up ratified in 1992, 202 years after its cutting from the Bill of Rights
This bill, which would limit Congress’ ability to give itself a pay raise or cut, was finally put forth onto the table by Gregory Watson, who, in the late 80’s, was working on a term paper and found that the bill was still technically pending. Gregory began an aggressive letter writing campaign to the legislators. State after state agreed to its terms, until it was finally brought to Congress and ratified. (Gregory got a C for his efforts. That’s some harsh grading)
5: The Bill of Rights had 14 original handwritten copies, which went to the eleven states alongside Rhode Island and North Carolina. Four of these copies were at one point or another lost, one due to the civil war, one due to a fire, and the other two by circumstance. However, in 1945 one of the handwritten copies was donated to the Library of Congress, and another was found within the New York Public Library