We’ve spent extensive amounts of time discussing why the Articles of Confederation did not work, and why the Constitution had to have some powers built in. Features of the Constitution include:
- A Preamble to set the mood and define the objectives
- Seven articles designed to set up government and tell us what it can do.
- A Bill of Rights
- More Amendments
Today’s concern: The Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the Constitution. These outline the rights given to the people, and were modeled after the English Bill of Rights.
Even something this simple caused a mental boxing match among the Founding Fathers (and you thought it was just this Congress that failed to get along). Anti-federalists threatened to vote down the Constitution unless it included a Bill of Rights–remember, they were afraid the federal government would become king-like and gain too much power.
Federalists said that a Bill of Rights wasn’t necessary–if the Constitution didn’t expressly prohibit something, then you could do it, and if you could do it, why did someone need to waste the paper writing about it in funny curly writing that subsequent generations of students wouldn’t be able to read anyway?
I think that might be taken from an Alexander Hamilton speech–I’m not really sure. Don’t quote me on that.
Please review this excellent Learnboard on the Bill of Rights (by my friend Amelia) and comment on or answer the following questions:
1. What freedoms does the Bill of Rights give?
2. Are there any freedoms you consider more essential than others?
3. After reviewing this board, can you research and find a situation in America today or a historical court case that dealt with one of these rights? What was the issue? Which amendment was involved? What ultimately happened?