Essay on The Revolution of Incorporation

Essay on The Revolution of Incorporation

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In 1789 James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights-the first ten amendments of the Constitution, to the First Congress. The Bill was heavily influenced by Virginia’s Declaration of Rights and used primarily to protect the citizen’s rights and liberties as well as, as a limitation on the federal government. The “original Constitution contained few guarantees” for civil rights and liberties therefore, the Bill of Rights strengthened them mitigating fears about the new national government (O’Brien 324). Madison and Anti-Federalists hoped to place the same restrictions on states. They found the Bill of Rights practical, explicit, and essential while Federalists found it unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Hamilton seeks justification against the Bill of Rights using the Constitution’s preamble which briefly notes the “liberty” and “prosperity” afforded to the American people (326). He also argues that the Bill may be dangerous because these exceptions being placed on powers have not yet been granted (326). Nonetheless, in September on 1789, Congress proposed 12 amendments to state legislatures which were shortly ratified thereafter in 1791 (326).
Following the enactment of the Bill of Rights, the debate continued as to whether these Amendments should be applied to state and local as well as the federal government. Anti-Federalists promoted the enactment of the Bill enforced in state and local governments to protect citizens from their local governments and to ensure their rights on the state and local level. Post Civil War, Reconstruction Amendments were put into place to guarantee freedom and rights to African Americans. These Amendments are enforced by the due process clause. During the 20th century, the Bill of Rights began ...


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...ch the Bill of Rights can be exercised in state and local governments. While the Bill of Rights had been enacted in the late eighteenth century, it took two more centuries before limits were placed on state governments. This, is credited to ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. While the Fourteenth Amendment may not have been intended for this purpose, it aided in the application of the Bill of Rights. Landmark cases such as Barron v Baltimore, the Slaughterhouse Cases, Hurtado v California, and WV Board of Education v Barnette, demonstrate the revolution of incorporation.


Works Cited
Fisher, Shauna. "Incorporation of the Bill of Rights." Constitutional Law II. Syracuse Univeristy, Syracuse, NY. 26 Jan. 2012. Lecture.
O'Brien, David M. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. 7th ed. Vol. 2. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2008. Print. Constitutional Law and Politics.

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