The Bill of Rights

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The Bill of Rights

After the Revolution, the States adopted their own constitutions, many of which contained a Bill of Rights. The Americans still faced the challenge of creating a central government for their new nation. In 1777 the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, which were ratified in 1781. Under the Articles, the states retained their “sovereignty, freedom and independence,” while the national government was kept weak and inferior. Over the next few years it became evident that the system of government that had been chosen was not strong enough to completely settle and defend the frontier, regulating trade, currency and commerce, and organizing thirteen states into one union.

So in the summer of 1787 delegates from the twelve states convened in Philadelphia to draft a new Constitution. They proposed a strong national government that would assume many of the powers previously imposed upon the states. (1) “No sooner than had the Continental Congress laid the proposed Constitution before the people for ratification, ” Irving Brant writes, “than a cry went up: it contained no Bill of Rights.”(2) People objected because the liberties they had fought for in the Revolution were not being protected by the Constitution, and then could be ignored by the federal government. The Anti-Federalist called for another convention to outline a Bill of Rights before the Constitution was approved. The Federalist, fearing that the progress would unravel completely, urged immediate ratification. With the understanding of a Bill of Rights to follow later. Eventually the Federalist prevailed. By 1788, eleven states had ratified the Constitution. Six states, however, sent Congress proposals for amendments, modeled on their state constitutions and designed to protect individual rights.

James Madison realized that the public desire for a Bill of Rights could not be ignored.

In 1789, after reviewing the state proposed amendments and the state Bill of Rights to be considered by Congress, he proposed nine amendments to be considered by Congress for insertion into the text of the Constitution. After deliberation, debate, and some alterations, the House and Senate voted to add the amendments on the end of the Constitution and sent twelve amendments to the states for ratification. Only ten of theses were ratified and from those are what we kno...

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...l want to be protected and assured of our freedoms and rights and don’t like it when those rights are threatened. The initial Constitution and Bill of Rights wasn’t written to include everyone in the rights and freedoms of citizens. And it was seen then that our needs as a nation would change and these documents would need to be able to expand and grow with the country.

The Bill of Rights has been one of the corner stones that we as Americans have enjoyed and taken for granted for the many years since its creation. The rights granted to us in the Bill of rights are the same right many people of the world are still fighting for even to the very day. We as Americans have become so accustom to having these rights we often take these rights for granted. There is no way of denying it’s historical significance, if you just stop and try and imagine your life without your freedoms and rights. These freedoms are what makes this country what it is and it also allows the people within the United States to enjoy the freedom dreamed about by the founders of this country as well. But as a country of whole, we take our rights and freedoms that our ancestors fought for, for granted.
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