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WASHINGTON, DC - On the day Delaware celebrates being the first to ratify the United States Constitution, its citizens should be able to see first-hand Delaware's original copy of the Bill of Rights, Senator Tom Carper said today in a speech included in the Congressional Record. "On a cold December day, 214 years ago, Delaware stood proudly and declared its belief in the right of self-government. Each year we celebrate this act of leadership, courage, and wisdom," Carper said. "But as we reflect on this bold step towards freedom, our state's copy of the Bill of Rights remains locked in a drawer in Maryland. Our state and this document deserve better." In 1789, the federal government sent the articles that would make up the Bill of Rights to states for ratification. While other states sent their approval of ratification back to the federal government in a separate document, Delaware's leaders signed their approval directly on their copy of the document and returned it to the federal government. While other states are now able to display their copies of the original Bill of Rights, Delaware's is locked in a drawer in the National Archives near College Park, Maryland. "While our flag is the symbol of our freedom, the Constitution is its guarantee. Though written by man, I believe it to be divinely inspired. The Bill of Rights which followed its ratification gave greater lasting liberties than any government document before or since," Carper said. " Delaware's Congressional delegation has been working with state leaders and officers from the National Archives to make the document available.