Bill of Rights

Topics: United States Constitution, United States Congress, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 6 (1665 words) Published: August 19, 2013
Failed Amendments
His/301
Dr. David Carter
July 22, 2013
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* How and why do amendments become part of the Constitution? * Thomas Jefferson put it best. In a letter to a friend in 1816, he mocked “men who look at constitution with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched”, “who ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what the human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.” “Let us follow no such examples, nor weakly believe that one generation is not a capable as another of taking care of itself, and of ordering its own affairs,” he concluded. “Each generation is an independent as the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone before.” * The ratification process really only requires one step, ratification of the ¾ of the states. Congress can write an amendment and pass it with 2/3 approval of congress, but it still needs ¾ ratification of the states, however, states can write their own amendments and have their own constitutional conventions whatever they want, but need 2/3 of the state legislatures to convene one. * The actual working of Article V is “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which k in either Case, shall beveled to all Intents an purposes, as part of this Constitution when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the senate.” *

* What problems with the original document motivated the adoption of the Bill of Rights? * When the constitution was first written, many states feared they were creating a central government that was too strong. In order to quiet some of these fears, a Bill of Rights were included. If the three words that begin the preamble to the constitution, “We the People…” were to be taken seriously, then the rights of the people had to be protected. The Bill of Rights, adopted in 1791 is the first ten amendments to the constitution, and its purpose is to protect certain rights, and privileges of the people, which were not specifically written in the constitution. For example, freedom of press and speech which were so important to the revolution were not included in the constituting but were included in the Bill of Rights. The 9th and 10th amendments were also big ones which said just because of right were not specifically given doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. * During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. They demanded a “bill of rights” that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; other ratified the Constitution with eh understanding that the amendments would be offered. * On September 25, 1789, the first congress of the United States therefore proposed to the state legislatures 1 amendments to the Constitution that met arguments most frequently advanced against it. The first two proposed amendments, which...
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