Arago: Constitution Bicentennial Issue

Constitution Bicentennial Issue

The 25-cent Constitution Series stamp commemorating the bicentennial of the drafting of the Bill of Rights was issued on September 25, 1989, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was the fifth stamp issued in the Constitution Series in 1989.

Constitutional opponents led by Virginia's George Mason criticized the document for its lack of fundamental freedoms and individual liberties. Contesting that position, James Madison and his followers argued that personal guarantees were unnecessary since such liberties were inherent in the Constitution.

Ironically, it was Madison who began drafting the original Bill of Rights. Armed with nearly 200 state-ratified amendments, Madison composed a lengthy first draft that eventually became a dozen final proposals.

On September 25, 1789, delegates from the House of Representatives and the US Senate met in Congress Hall and approved twelve amendments to the US Constitution. Two of these suggestions concerning the size of the House of Representatives and congressional salaries were not ratified. The remaining ten, known today as the 'Bill of Rights,' guarantee every American citizen specific personal liberties, including freedom of speech and religion, the right to a fair and speedy trial, and protection from illegal search and seizure.

Designed by Lou Nolan, the stamps were printed in the offset/intaglio process (D Press) by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and were issued in panes of fifty.


Postal Bulletin (August 31, 1989).


Additional Records