Monday, December 15, 2008

This Day In History

On this day in 1791, when ratified by the state of Virginia, our Bill of Rights became the law of the land. The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. They are written plainly and unambiguously in the original and their express purpose was and is to limit the power of the government over the people.

We can thank the Founding Fathers for their foresight, fortitude and love of freedom. James Madison is pictured above at the age of 65 in an 1816 portrait painted by John Vanderlyn. He was our 4th president and served two terms, from 1809-1817. He is considered the "Father of the Constitution" and was the author of the first Bill of Rights.

The co-author of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton is show below in a portrait painted by John Trunbull in 1806. He distinguished himself while serving in the American Revolution. As senior aide-de-camp and confidant to General George Washington, he led 3 battalions at the Siege of Yorktown. As he was born in the British West Indies, he was ineligible to serve as President. He was appointed the country's first Secretary of the Treasury by President George Washington. On July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton, at the age of 47, was mortally wounded by Vice President Aaron Burn in a duel on the west bank of the Hudson River. Burr had taken exception to comments Hamilton had made at a dinner party. Hamilton's eldest son had been killed in a duel on the same ground three years earlier.

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