The Bill of Rights

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:

Critical 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?

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4 thoughts on “The Bill of Rights

  1. well what ive understande from the bills of right is that there were alot of fights during this time and people and even the government were to afraid of getting to much power there was like a boxing match betwwen them, and like i was aying this includes some of the amendments like freedom of speech, equal right and etc

  2. 1. The bill of rights give freedom of speech, religon, press, assembly, petition, bear arms, search and seizure, trial, right to confront a counsel, liberty and property, ect.

    2. I think the law that is more essential than the others is the freedom of speech and the rights to bear arms. The reason why i think these are more essential than the others is because if you had something to say, you could tell the atouritys about it and no one can ignor you as well as in court. I also think that the right to bear arms is more essential because if someone invaded your house, you could fend them off so that they wont do any harm to you.

    3. Yes because there was a court case of a man named Clarence Earl Gideon. It was all year 1961 when he wanted a lawyer to defend him but he was sent away for 5 years and dident get the right to have a fair trial. I think he should have had the chanch to have a lawyer and have that trial.

  3. 1. It gives the people some of the most important rights like the right to freedom of speech, the right to a civil case, the right to bear arms, and the right to life, liberty and property.

    2. The freedoms i feel are more essential than the others is the freedom to speech and the freedom to a civil court case. I believe these too are the most important because everyone should have the right to speak their mind and defend themselves with the help of a lawyer against what they are charged for.

    3. Yes the court case of Clarence Earl Gideon in 1961. He was arrested for breaking into a pool hall to steal from vending machine in Florida. When he went to court his request for a court appointed lawyer was denied and he had to defend himself. In result he was sentenced to 5 years in prison. This case broke the law to a fair trial i believe and he shouldn’t have been denied that right or given the jail time without it.

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