Bill of Rights and Amendments
University of Phoenix
Anthony J Interland [pic]
May 29, 2012
The Constitution contains seven articles; the first three articles established three branches of government, legislative, judicial, and executive branches. Each branch has a different function and holds power, but its power is restricted by another branch. America’s forefathers divided the government into three branches to maintain checks and balances. They did this to avoid the risk of dictatorship, tyranny, or single person or entity gaining control of the government. The fifth article allows for amendments or additions to the constitutions. It ensures the needs of the people are met and reflects the changing attitude of the nations. The methods to amend Constitution are two-third vote by the House and Senate and ratification by 38 of the 50 states. Protecting the right of the people and building a strong centralized government was the primary concern of the founding fathers. The delegates at the Constitutional Convention did not want the country returning to totalitarian system of authority like the one forced on the colonies by the British (usgovinfo.about.com). On September 17, 1787 thirty nine men signed the U. S. Constitution; the document explaining how our government would operate. These brilliant men drafted a manuscript crafting a democracy where government served the people not controls them. That prudence has made America one of the most powerful nations in the world and gave us a government that still endeavors today. Even though the founding father drafted a document for the people, it contained few individual rights or guarantees for the people. Only specific rights guarantees were included like protection against states impairing the obligation of contracts, prohibit government from enforcing ex post facto laws, and barring bills of attainder. James Madison, a Virginia congressman penned the Bill of Rights and after much deliberation, the First Congress accepted the amendments in 1789 (law.2umkc.edu, n.d.).
HOW AND WHY DO AMENDMENTS BECAME PARTOF THE CONSTITUTION
The Constitution is a living and breathing manuscript; a creature of human will existing through their aspirations. The document crafted by the Framers represents cooperation, negotiation and compromises. However, the original document did not allow for a changing and developing nation. Article V gave the government the means to amend and adjust the Constitution. Amendments strengthen the Constitution, propelling it through the centuries, maturing it as society evolves. They are defined as the process of amending by parliamentary or constitutional procedure or an alteration proposed or effected by this process (merriam-webster.com, n.d.) Amendments are proposed by either two-third of both houses or by national convention. To be incorporated into Constitution, amendments must be ratified by legislature or approved by three-fourths of the states. The 21st Amendment is the only amendment of the 27 to be ratified by state convention. Once a proposed amendment is accepted, it becomes effective immediately. However, states for symbolic reasons have chosen to ratify five amendments that were already law: Bill of Rights; the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment, providing for equal protection and due process; the Fifteenth Amendment, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting; and the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women a federal constitutional right to vote (wikipedia.org, n.d.). Law and rules that is made in the Constitution cannot be removed; it is allowed to go through alteration or modification. The writers of the Constitution knew the document would need to change with times. They built a careful process that would make it hard to change. The president can...
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