A term describing the United States Supreme Court's decision to apply the federal Bill of Rights provisions to people affected by the actions of states. The rights were brought to the people through the 14th amendment, which states (section 1),

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. "

The earliest interpretation of this clause occured in Barron v. Baltimore in 1833 and in the Slaughterhouse Cases in 1873. At the time, the judges used the concept of original intent as their method of judicial review and did not interpret it as incorporating the bill of rights.

The Bill of Rights was first incorporated in the case of Gitlow vs. New York in 1925. Gitlow had been advocating young men to dodge the draft, and the state of New York had punished him accordingly. However, he appealed the decision and the case was brought to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the state of New York could not infringe upon his rights created by the bill of rights and guaranteed to him by the 14th amendment. The bill of rights was then incorporated fully.

Another commonly used word for incorporation is nationalisation.
See Amendment XIV, Supreme Court, Bill of Rights