This paper addresses four central questions. First, what were the political and ideological motives behind Madison's insistence on amending the Constitution? Second, how did these amendments both reflect the memories of abuses by the British during the decades preceding the American Revolution and, at the same time, seek to preserve many of the English legal and political traditions embraced by Americans. Third, how did the division between nationalists and states' rights advocates play out in the debates over what became the first, second, ninth and tenth amendments? And, finally, what role did the Bill of Rights play in the crisis provoked by the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798?