From hundreds of proposed amendments to the Constitution, Congress gave final approval to twelve amendments. The ten that were sanctioned became known as the Bill of Rights. Copies prepared under the direction of John Beckley (1757–1807), clerk of the House, were sent to President George Washington on September 25, 1789, for dispersal to the states for ratification.
Amendments three through twelve were approved and went into effect on December 15, 1791, when Virginia became the eleventh state to ratify them. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Georgia did not vote to ratify. Although Amendment Two was rejected in the 1790s, it later became the twenty-seventh amendment to the Constitution.