Examining the Modern Day Relevance of the Bill of Rights

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The Constitution lays out the rights and obligations of the newly formed United States government. But, what of the rights and obligations of its citizens? Starting in 1791 only two years after the Constitution was ratified the Constitution began to evolve and this process continues to this day. The first ten amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights outlines the protections which citizens have from the government of the United States. The question raised in the title of this paper is; Are the Bill of Rights, written well over 200 years ago still relevant today? Of course they are and probably even more so. To illustrate this fact we will examine each of the ten amendments rewrite each one using common everyday language of today and if possible discuss why this was important in 1791 and why we may or may not need this document in writing today. In restating each amendment I will try to write it as if it is a brand new document, which is a stretch to say the least. With out the struggle of the colonies through war and abuse by the English Monarchy would one have the foresight to see how a government may take for granted the rights of its citizenry? Amendment 1 [2010] Congress will make no law that restricts people’s religious beliefs, right to express themselves in public and private peaceably, or ability to petition the Government for settling of grievances. Answering the question of today’s relevance, absolutely this is relevant. The people of a nation must be able to express themselves and have open discussions peaceably and in public. The phrasing of expressing themselves has much wiggle room and I am sure all our present day decency laws and other laws protecting p... ... middle of paper ... ...the Bill of Rights he is pressing for the amendments to be placed in the Constitution not as separate amendments. As in all government documents great debate takes place and concessions made to pass a document through the system. Perhaps this is why the specific individual rights were left out of the Constitution. Should or would have these amendments been incorporated into a Constitution written today? I believe so. Again I rely on history, the history of rights of citizens and the struggle of the people to protect these rights should and would be included today. We can not leave the obvious up to the government. Obviously all men are created equal and deserve the same rights but American history is full of inequalities, segregation, slaves, internment of Japanese, Chinese railway workers and on and on all examples of the Government acting on the obvious.