Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Bill of Rights of the United States

Earlier this year, I wrote that I had digitally cleaned up and enhanced an image of one of the original copies of the Bill of Rights of the United States, before now, I haven't posted it online.  I have decided to do so right now.

Though I intended in the beginning to digitally create a cleaner, restored version of the scanned copy of the original held and displayed by the National Archives, it would be more accurate to say of the final product that I traced the writing in the original image to create a faithful representation of that writing than that what I have created is the same document that I started with, but cleaner.  Considering that the document that I started with is itself really only a scanned, digital representation of the solid, original copy, it is debatable what language would be best for expressing what I actually did, but I can at least make sure that people who look at this know what they're getting.

This document isn't perfect, but I think it meets a need that otherwise is not yet served on the Internet (unless I overlooked similar documents online when I searched for them).

''Article the First'', the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, and the ten amendments most commonly known as The Bill of Rights


  1. This is just magnificent. I thank you for sharing. What program did you use? I tried experimenting with the original scanned copy myself in Adobe Illustrator image trace but that process actually destroyed some letters.

  2. May I have a high resolution copy of your finished product, please? The image shared is 1505x1600 but the description of the image file is described as 3000x3190.

    Will you be working on other US documents such as The Constitution?

  3. Thank you, and I apologize for the lateness of my response. To answer your first question, I used a free but excellent program known as "GIMP". I do not know why they chose that acronym, but the program is great. However, even with all of its tools at my disposal, I was unable to create a copy that I was satisfied with (without all of the stains and the uneven background coloration and darkness, and, more importantly, with all of the letters being clear and legible), so I ultimately just traced the whole thing.

    Secondly, I would be happy to release a higher-resolution version of it, but after I completed the version appearing above, I found an even higher-resolution version of the original (with all of the stains and faded letters that can be seen in the lower-resolution version of the original), and I am interested in using that in order to make my version even cleaner and more precise (and much larger, at the same time). The resolution of that copy that I found more recently is over 8,000 by something, so this would be no small improvement. Since I do not know when I will finish work on that, however, I would be happy to share the highest resolution version that I currently have, if you would still like to have it. Just let me know. After all, I never meant to create this for profit. It is my gift to the people of the United States. I have described the original as looking as though some guy ate his lunch over it, blew his nose with it, and then kept it folded up in his glove compartment for 20 years, and I thought that people should have the chance to display a cleaner-looking copy of the Bill of Rights than that.

    In response to your third question, it is possible that I will do something like this with the famously displayed copy of the Constitution (the original, exclusive of any amendments -- I'm sure that you know what I mean), but I am not currently planning on it. It took me a long time to complete work on the Bill of Rights, and that is only one page long. That copy of the Constitution takes up three and a half pages, and (going from memory) I think that each page is more densely packed with words than the Bill of Rights page that I worked with is. Also, with the exception of the bottoms of some of the pages, that copy of the Constitution is already in much better shape than the Bill of Rights is. Finally (though I may look into this after I post this comment), I would be surprised if someone has not already done something like this with the famous, four-page copy of the original Constitution. I spent a fair amount of time searching online for a clean looking copy of the Bill of Rights before I resorted to making one myself. However, it is possible that I will eventually work on the original Constitution. I may also do something with the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, because I was not impressed with the appearance of the scanned images of them. At least one of the two had been written on lined paper, and both sides of the sheet of paper had been used, which caused the words on the back of the page to be partly visible from the front. If I do clean up any more documents, I will almost certainly post something about them here.

  4. Have you finished the high resolution one? I could use it for a project
    Im working on.