why was the bill of rights established
The first 10 amendments to the make up the Bill of Rights. Written by
in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties, the Bill of Rights lists specific prohibitions on governmental power. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by, strongly influenced Madison. One of the many points of contention between Federalists and Anti-Federalists was the Constitutionвs lack of a bill of rights that would place specific limits on government power. Federalists argued that the Constitution did not need a bill of rights, because the people and the states kept any powers not given to the federal government. Anti-Federalists held that a bill of rights was necessary to safeguard individual liberty. Madison, then a member of the U. S. House of Representatives, went through the Constitution itself, making changes where he thought most appropriate. But several Representatives, led by Roger Sherman, objected that Congress had no authority to change the wording of the Constitution itself. Therefore, Madisonвs changes were presented as a list of amendments that would follow Article VII. The House approved 17 amendments. Of these 17, the Senate approved 12. Those 12 were sent to the states for approval in August of 1789. Of those 12, 10 were quickly approved (or, ratified). Virginiaвs legislature became the last to ratify the amendments on December 15, 1791. The Bill of Rights is a list of limits on government power. For example, what the Founders saw as the natural right of individuals to speak and worship freely was protected by the First Amendmentвs prohibitions on Congress from making laws establishing a religion or abridging freedom of speech. For another example, the natural right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion in oneвs home was safeguarded by the Fourth Amendmentвs warrant requirements.
Other precursors to the Bill of Rights include English documents such as the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the English Bill of Rights, and the Massachusetts Body of Liberties. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. The Bill of Rights is an important set of amendments to the United States Constitution, as the Constitution itself contained very few rights for the individual. The Bill of Rights was a pretty controversial idea when it was proposed in 1789, because a majority of the founding fathers had already entertained and rejected the idea of including a Bill of Rights in the original 1787 Constitution. On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution) were ratified by the states.
The Bill of Rights were added to the Constitution to address fears raised by the Anti-Federalists during the ratification of the Constitution that the Constitution did not provide sufficient protection against abuses of power by the federal government. P James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, originally did not think a Bill of Rights was necessary. He thought the Constitution gave no power to the federal government that would allow for a violation of the rights of the people. Madison later changed his position, persuaded mainly by Thomas Jefferson, and, with the help of others, drafted twenty amendments that were proposed to the first United States Congress in 1789. Twelve of the proposed amendments were accepted by Congress and were then sent to the states for ratification. Only ten were ratified. These ten amendments list our basic rights and place limits on the federal government. They include the freedoms of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and an assurance that the powers not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved to the states and the people. Many of these provisions were based upon similar protections provided by state constitutions that limited the power of state and local government authorities. Of the remaining amendments that were not ratified in 1791, one was later adopted in 1992 as the twenty-seventh amendment to the Constitution. That amendment prevents changes in the compensation for senators and representatives until after a subsequent election of representatives. The other proposed amendment has never been adopted.
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