I, Section 10 , provisions that prohibit both the federal and state governments from enforcing ex post facto laws laws that allow punishment for an action that was not criminal at the time it was undertaken and provisions barring bills of attainder legislative determinations of guilt and punishment Art.
I, Sections 9 and The framers, and notably James Madison, its principal architect, believed that the Constitution protected liberty primarily through its division of powers that made it difficult for an oppressive majorities to form and capture power to be used against minorities. Delegates also probably feared that a debate over liberty guarantees might prolong or even threaten the fiercely-debated compromises that had been made over the long hot summer of In the ratification debate, Anti-Federalists opposed to the Constitution, complained that the new system threatened liberties, and suggested that if the delegates had truly cared about protecting individual rights, they would have included provisions that accomplished that.
Thomas Jefferson, who did not attend the Constitutional Convention, in a December letter to Madison called the omission of a Bill of Rights a major mistake: James Madison was skeptical of the value of a listing of rights, calling it a "parchment barrier. Despite his skepticism, by the fall of , Madison believed that a declaration of rights should be added to the Constitution. When the First Congress met in , James Madison, a congressman from Virginia, took upon himself the task of drafting a proposed Bill of Rights. He considered his efforts "a nauseous project.
Some of the rejections were very significant, such as the decision not to adopt Madison's proposal to extend free speech protections to the states, and others somewhat less important such as the dropping of Madison's language that required unanimous jury verdicts for convictions in all federal cases. Some members of Congress argued that a listing of rights of the people was a silly exercise, in that all the listed rights inherently belonged to citizens, and nothing in the Constitution gave the Congress the power to take them away.
In part to counter this concern, the Ninth Amendment was included providing that "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people. Others, such as rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, would dismiss the Ninth Amendment as analogous to "an inkblot on the Constitution," a provision so unclear in its significance that judges should essentially read it out of the Constitution. Most of the protections of the Bill of Rights eventually would be extended to state infringements as well federal infringements though the "doctrine of incorporation" beginning in the early to mids.
The doctrine rests on interpreting the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as prohibiting states from infringing on the most fundamental liberties of its citizens. In the end, we owe opponents of the Constitution a debt of gratitude, for without their complaints, there would be no Bill of Rights.
United States Bill of Rights
Thomas Jefferson wrote, "There has just been opposition enough" to force adoption of a Bill of Rights, but not to drain the federal government of its essential "energy. A New National Capital: Another View of Virginia in Claiming Victory from Defeat Early National Arts and Cultural Independence The Expansion of the Vote: Jacksonian Democracy and Modern America Irish and German Immigration Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy The Southern Argument for Slavery Gold in California The Compromise of Preston Brooks and Charles Sumner The South Secedes The Road to Appomattox The Assassination of the President Rebuilding the Old Order Politics of the Gilded Age Debs and American Socialism Artistic and Literary Trends The Print Revolution The Wounded Knee Massacre The Election of Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom The Panama Canal The Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations Fads and Heroes Domestic and International Politics Sinking Deeper and Deeper: Social and Cultural Effects of the Depression An Evaluation of the New Deal The Decision to Drop the Bomb Voices against Conformity Martin Luther King Jr.
Years of Withdrawal The New Right The End of the Cold War The End of the American Century. Although James Madison was the youngest member of the Continental Congress, his leadership was a critical factor in the development of American government. The Full Text of the Bill of Rights Amendment I 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.
Constitution Day: The Bill of Rights and the Warren Court
A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the U. Constitution Looking for some in-depth analysis to tie all of this history together? The National Archives and Records Administration provides an excellent recap of the turbulent series of debates and compromises that culminated with the states' final ratification of the Constitution. If you're interested specifically in the Bill of Rights, stick to the last few sections, but if you have time, read it all — it's worth it! But what about the why?
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Why did the American people, in particular, want guarantees about their liberty? Why did the ideal of democracy threaten the very ideal of liberty? And why wasn't the Bill of Rights really put into practice for the first years of its existence?
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In this informative, easy-to-read essay, the American Civil Liberties Union attempts to answer some of these questions. Chronicle of the Revolution Extra, extra, read all about it!
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Congress adds a Bill of Rights to the Constitution! With this faux -newspaper article from , you can get a sense of the tremendous negotiations that surrounded the birth of the Bill of Rights. In the end, it was little more than the product of much haggling and many compromises between supporters of a strong central government and those concerned about individual liberties. What was all the fuss about? George Mason and the Bill of Rights Most people don't know much about the man Thomas Jefferson called "the wisest man of his generation," but George Mason was largely responsible for the addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
This site explores the contributions made by this influential southern antifederalist leader who preferred to keep his nose out of politics, but who fought passionately for his beliefs on the occasions when he did enter the governmental fray. There are 5 concise pages, with loads of hypertext links.
18a. The Bill of Rights
A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences. If you like our content, please share it on social media! Freedom of speech Freedom of the press Freedom of religion Freedom of assembly Right to petition the government. Protection against unreasonable search and seizure Protection against the issuing of warrants without probable cause.