Free Essay: The United States Bill of Rights
The United States bill of rights is used as a collective name for the initial 10 amendments of the constitution of the United States. The amendments were proposed as a way of assuaging the fears that Anti-Federalists had because they opposed ratification of the constitution. The amendments guaranteed several personal freedoms.
They also limited the power of the government in the judiciary as well as the other proceedings. Following the amendments, some of the powers that the government had over the public and the states were reserved. The amendments initially applied to the federal government. Nevertheless, they were subsequently applied to state’s governments by a way of incorporation or the fourteenth Amendment.
On 8th June 1789, James Madison introduced thirty-nine amendments in a series to the U.S constitution. His recommendations included the opening up of the constitution and also inserting certain rights that would limit Congress’ power in the Section 9 of Article One. Among these limitations, seven of them would form part of the amendments of the ratified bill of rights.
On 25th September 1789, the twelve articles of the constitutional amendment were approved by Congress. They were then submitted to the state so that they could be ratified. Contrary to what Madison had initially proposed that the U.S incorporate the articles in the constitution’s main body, the amendments were proposed to be supplemental additions to the amendments.
On 15th December 1791, articles 3 to 12 had been ratified by the constitutionally required states, and they became the Amendments 1 to 10 of the U.S constitution. On 7th May 1992, after 202 years and 225 days, Article 2 passed the constitutional ratification threshold and it became the 27th Amendment. For this reason, one article is still pending because it has not been ratified.
The United States bill of rights established freedoms that are not indicated explicitly in the main part of the constitution. These include the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, free assembly and free press. It also enumerates the right to bear and keep arms, personal effects’ security, and freedom from unreasonable seizure and search, freedom from warrant without a probable cause and indictment by the grand jury on the basis of an infamous crime or any capital.
The bill of rights also guarantees the U.S citizens quick, public trial and an impartial jury as well as double jeopardy’s prohibition. Additionally, this bill reserves for individuals rights that are not specifically mentioned by the constitution while reserving all the powers that are not specifically granted by the federal government among the people and/or by the states.
The Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 by George Mason influenced the United States bill of rights as well as the English bill of rights and other political documents like Magna Carta. Although the bill of rights did not have significant judicial impact during the initial 150 years of existence, it formed a basis for most decisions of the Supreme Court during the 20th century and the 21st century.
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