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The Bill of Rights Essay

The Bill of Rights Essay

The Bill
of Rights was a landmark in the history of the world. It was proposed in 1689
and is a document that set out the conditions on which the British throne had
been offered to William and Mary in 1688. The Bill of Rights mainly
incorporated the Declaration of Rights and declared that the monarch must rule
according to the law and with parliamentary consent. Members of the parliament
were to be freely elected and guaranteed the freedom of speech. The Roman
Catholic Stuart claim to the throne was terminated (Macmillan Encyclopaedia, 1999).

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This was of course a brief history
of the actual place of origin of the Bill of Rights. In 1791 another document
by the name of the Bill of Rights was proposed in the United States. It
contains the first ten amendments of the Constitution of the country and is
described by Jefferson as what people are entitled to against every government
on earth. They are (1) the freedom of press, speech and religion; (2) the
right to bear arms; (3) prohibition of quartering of troops; (4) protection
against unlawful search and seizure; (5) the right of due process of law; (6)
the right to a fair and public trial; (7) the right to a trial by jury; (8)
prohibition of cruel punishments (9) protection of non-numerated rights and
(10) reservation of powers i.e. powers not reserved for the federal government
residue in the states (Macmillan
Encyclopaedia, 1999).

The
Bill was basically formulated because during the debates of the adoption of the
Constitution, the opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted
would open the way to tyranny by the central government. The memory of the
revolution was still fresh in their minds i.e. the British had carried out the
violation of civil rights and liberties before and during the revolution. Thus
it was no surprise when a bill of rights was demanded by the opposition that
would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state
constitutions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such
amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the
amendments would be offered (Bent David, James Madison proposes the Bill of
Rights to the House of Representatives, 1996).

Therefore on 25 September 1789,
the First Congress of the United States proposed twelve amendments to the
Constitution to the state legislatures. These amendments included arguments
that were most frequently put forth against the Constitution itself. The first
two proposed amendments which concerned the number of constituents for each
representative and the compensation of the Congressmen were not ratified (Bent,
1996). Articles three to twelve were however ratified by three-fourths of the
state legislatures, constitute the first ten amendments of the constitution
known as the Bill of Rights. As James Madison stated while drafting the Bill of
Rights: I should be unwilling to see a door opened for a re-consideration of
the whole structure of the government, for a re-consideration of the principles
and the substance of the powers given; because I doubt if such a door was
opened, if we should be very likely to stop at that point which would be safe
to the government itself (Bent, 1996). It is clear from the above excerpt that
James Madison did not think that the Bill of Rights was that important a
document and was only required to humiliate those who thought it was
detrimental the country.

However nothing could be further from the truth as it
turned out that the Bill of Rights was indeed important in the safeguarding of
civil rights and liberties that had previously been taken for granted. Thus
later on when Madison in his speech said: I will state my reasons why I think
it proper to propose amendments; and state the amendments themselves, so far as
I think they ought to be proposed. If I thought I could fulfill the duty which
I owe to myself and my constituents, to let the subject pass over in silence, I
most certainly should not trespass upon the indulgence of this house. But I
cannot do this; and am therefore compelled to beg a patient hearing to what I
have to lay before you. And I do most sincerely believe that if congress will
devote but one day to this subjects, so far as to satisfy the public that we do
not disregard their wishes, it will have a salutary influence on the public
councils, and prepare the way for a favorable reception of our future measures
(Bent, 1996). .

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The Bill of Rights Essay
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The Bill of Rights Essay The Bill of Rights was a landmark in the history of the world. It was proposed in 1689 and is a document that set out the conditions on which the British throne had been offered to William and Mary in 1688. The Bill of Rights mainly incorporated the Declaration of Rights and declared that the monarch must rule according to the law and with parliamentary consent. Members of the parliament were to be freely elected and guaranteed the free

2019-02-12 08:13:19
The Bill of Rights Essay
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