Bill Of Rights

Of the many inspiring events that occurred at Federal Hall, perhaps the most stirring of all is the enactment of the Bill of Rights.

For most Americans, the Bill of Rights is the crown jewel of our democracy, a sacred document many cite like Scripture. For people in less free corners of the world, it is a beacon that draws them to immigrate or a shining example of possibility for their own nations.

So, it may come as a surprise to learn that in 1789, passage of the Bill of Rights was anything but a foregone conclusion.

Federalists who advocated for a strong central government in the first Congress believed the rights were self-evident, while anti-federalists, who had been the strongest proponents for a Bill of Rights, were by this time more intent on securing States’ right

In 1789, passage of the Bill of Rights was anything but a foregone conclusion.

Only through an unwavering campaign by James Madison was the Bill of Rights finally passed. Interestingly, guaranteeing individual liberties was not even his chief concern. Rather, it was establishing the Constitution as a living document that could be amended.

The Bill of Rights became law on December 15, 1791, with Virginia’s ratification of 10 amendments.

James Madison


Today, it is indelibly intertwined with our daily lives— addressing issues from privacy to religious liberty, marriage equality to due process. Here at Federal Hall, its historic birthplace, we look to honor this legacy by fostering opportunities for all Americans to actively engage with the exercise of their civil liberties.

Bill of Rights

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 offense 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 defense.

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 reexamined 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 enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

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.

Restoring, activating and sustaining Federal Hall—the birthplace of American democracy—is vital to our heritage.

Federal Hall is a place of firsts: First Capital, First President, First Congress and First Freedoms.

At almost no other time in our history has it been more important than now to understand the legacy of the founders who came together here at Federal Hall to establish the United States of America a new form of government, for and by the people.

New Day at Federal Hall will connect the sesignifican t events of the past with today through transformation of the visitor experience at Federal Hall National Memorial. The effort, a public - private partnership between the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy and the National Pak Service, addresses three main challenges: Education , Restoration and Financial Sustainability

Loving God. Loving People.

The Conservancy

The National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy was founded in 2005 as the official nonprofit partner of the National Parks of New York Harbor — 24 parks and historic sites in the New York City Metropolitan Area. New Day at Federal Hall is a primary initiative of the Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service, our mission is to restore and transform Federal Hall into a world - class heritage destination with civic, education and tourism programs.


Tonio Burgos

Tonio Burgos is the Chairman of the Conservancy. He is the founder of Tonio Burgos & Associates Inc., a consulting firm which serves a wide range of clients in both the public and private sector across the tristate area. Tonio has served as a member of the Advisory Committee of Lower Manhattan Economic Development Corporation on Transportation issues; as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and as a Director of the PATH Commuter Rail System


Marie Salerno

Marie Salerno is the President and Co-Founder with the late Marian Heiskell of the Conservancy. For 40 years, she has produced multi-faceted campaigns for New York’s cultural,
literary and educational institutions, including The New York Public Library, Thirteen/WNET, New York Magazine and NYC 100: Greater New York Centennial Celebration.


Renee Barnes

Renee Barnes has more than a decade of experience developing public programs for national parks. As Director of Programs and Operations for the Conservancy, she oversees implementation of its public programs as well as its planning and restoration projects.


Lynn Goldner

Lynn Goldner is a film and television producer, who has developed projects for premium cable channels such as HBO and Sundance Channel. She is the Federal Hall producer working to secure the creative talent and partnerships for The Democracy Project and a Grand Rotunda experience.


Laura Herrera and Brandi Marks

Laura Herrera and Brandi Marks are co – founders and managing partners of Full House Events, each with nearly two decades of experience in several industries, including travel and tourism, government, nonprofit fundraising and event production. Full House is developing partnerships and a facilities rentals program for Federal Hall.


Bonnie Levinson

Bonnie Levinson ’s career working in the arts with cultural institutions spans three decades, most recently as deputy director for external affairs at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and as a trustee of several arts organizations including San Francisco Art Institute and EnGardeArts. As a consultant to Federal Hall, she is developing the visual arts and residency programs.


David Taggart

David Taggart has a long career in media and marketing. He specializes in spon sorships, marketing, activations and project development. He is also an award-winning photographer and founder of the social media platform,
Republic of Humanity


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