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The History List

The Bill of Rights originally printed by Bennett Wheeler (Providence, RI) — from the Printing Office of Edes & Gill

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Originally printed by Bennett Wheeler of Providence, RI, ours is printed by Edes & Gill in Boston and is identical to the original, which is in the Library of Congress, with the exception of the addition of the name of the printer who made this print, in the lower left-hand corner. 

Shows the twelve amendments that were passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. The first two were not ratified; the remaining ten make up what we know as the Bill of Rights. (See below for additional historical background.)

This broadside was originally printed in Providence, Rhode Island by Bennett Wheeler for distribution to the town clerks in the state. (More information on Wheeler is at the bottom.)

Dimensions of the paper: 16.5" x 11.25"

Dimensions of the text: 9.5"  x 12.25" 

You can purchase the Bill of Rights together with the Boston broadside of the "Declaration of Independence" and the U.S. Constitution, both printed at Edes & Gill, at a savings of $7.99 for all three.

We also have the Boston broadside of the "Declaration of Independence," printed by Edes & Gill, as well as the Philadelphia broadside, printed by John Dunlap, and the Baltimore broadside printed by Mary Katherine Goddard.

— Lee Wright  |  Founder  |  The History List  |  History Camp


Historical Background: About the Bill of Rights

"On December 15, 1791, the new United States of America ratified the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, confirming the fundamental rights of its citizens. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, speech, and the press, and the rights of peaceful assembly and petition. Other amendments guarantee the rights of the people to form a “well-regulated militia,” to keep and bear arms, the rights to private property, fair treatment for accused criminals, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, freedom from self-incrimination, a speedy and impartial jury trial, and representation by counsel.

"The Bill of Rights draws influence and inspiration from the Magna Carta (1215), the English Bill of Rights (1689), and various later efforts in England and America to expand fundamental rights. George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights formed the basis of the amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights.

"George Mason (1725-92), a native of Fairfax County, Virginia, championed individual liberties throughout his life. In 1776, he drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights and a large part of Virginia’s state constitution. In 1787, as one of the most vocal members of the Constitutional Convention, Mason expressed great concern that assurances of individual liberties had not been incorporated into the Constitution, and, due to this concern and others, he elected not to sign the document.

"The Bill of Rights answered Mason’s greatest concern and the concerns of many ratifying states. As a representative in the First Federal Congress, James Madison ushered seventeen amendments to the Constitution through the House of Representatives. These amendments were subsequently reduced to the twelve amendments passed by Congress and sent to the states on September 25, 1789. The first two proposed amendments, concerning the number of constituents for each representative and the compensation of members of Congress, were not ratified. By December 15, 1791, articles three through twelve were ratified by the required number of states and became known as the Bill of Rights."

Source: Library of Congress

 

Bennett Wheeler, printer

A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he served an unpleasant apprenticeship to the king's printer, Wheeler made his way to Providence after gaining his freedom in 1776. Over the next two years, with time out for his militia duty, he worked as a journeyman, first for job printer John McDougall and then for John Carter, publisher of the Providence Gazette. At the end of 1778, to Carter's everlasting resentment, Wheeler entered the employ of Solomon Southwick, in Attleborough, Massachusetts, and a few months later Southwick invited Wheeler to become his partner and run the business. They promptly moved their operations to Providence, where they launched the town's second newspaper, The American Journal and General Advertiser. Southwick soon withdrew from the partnership, but Wheeler continued publishing the paper until August 1781. During this time he attained the rank of captain in the state militia and married the daughter of a landed gentleman.

 

Source: "New Perspectives on the Early Republic: Essays from the Journal of the Early Republic, 1981-1991," Ralph D. Gray, Michael A. Morrison 

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            Customer Reviews

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            R
            Rob N.
            Perfect

            This is a perfect addition to our collection of founding documents. It is of great quality and is beautiful framed.

            r
            robert w.

            The Bill of Rights originally printed by Bennett Wheeler (Providence, RI) — from the Printing Office of Edes & Gill

            R
            Rhonda L.A.
            Beautiful documents!

            The documents that I ordered are just beautiful! They arrived in the very functional triangle box, which 100% protects them, well done! We have more on our wish list, already!