JOHNSON, Lyndon B. Printed document signed ("Lyndon B. Johnson") as President, printed text of the BILL OF RIGHTS, "The White House," Washington, D.C., 2 July 1964. 2 pages, folio (approximately 11½ x 8 1/8 in.), matted and framed with portrait. Unexamined out of frame.
A SYMBOLIC SIGNING OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS ON THE DATE THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT BECAME LAW
On the day in which Johnson marked the high water mark of his Presidency by signing the Civil Rights Act into law, he signed and dated this copy of the text of the Bill of Rights in a symbolic gesture of its new relevance to peoples of all colors. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, guaranteeing the basic civil liberties to which Americans have grown accustomed, were sponsored by Anti-Federalists as a compromise by which they would support ratification. This Bill of Rights, or what James Madison called the "great rights of mankind," assured among other things that American citizens could not be denied freedom of the press, religion or speech, were guaranteed a trial by jury, and could not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
Despite the guarantees that the Founding Fathers had imparted within the foundations of the new government, not every American shared in the freedoms offered by the Bill of Rights. One hundred and seventy-five years after its components were ratified, African-Americans were still denied many of the privileges it supposedly guaranteed. The Civil Rights movement sought to remedy the great national imbalance, inspired by Martin Luther King who boldly pronounced, "Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." The Civil Rights Act, passed during Johnson's Administration, provided the justice that King desired and gave new meaning to the Bill of Rights (see preceding lot). Johnson signs this copy boldly: "Lyndon B. Johnson The White House Washington, D.C. 7/2/64."