Custom Search
To find what you are looking for on Effectual History.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Bill of Rights is the Name by Which Freedom is Preserved

The Bill of Rights is the Name by Which Freedom is Preserved

Although the U.S. Constitution was adopted September 19, 1787, the Bill of Rights is the name by which specific individual freedoms are guaranteed in the first 10 constitutional amendments. They were formally adopted December 15, 1791, when three-fourths of all 13 states ratified them.

Between the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, proclaimed in 1783 at the Treaty of Paris, and the Constitutional Convention, 1787, where the U.S. Constitution was drafted, powers of states overrode the authority of a weaker central government.

A young delegate from Virginia, James Madison, promoted the establishment of a stronger central government as realized in the constitution, and liberally borrowed from George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights, written in 1776, to help draft the Bill of Rights.

Important dates, personages, and topics of the Bill of Rights include:

* May 20-26, 1776 George Mason writes Virginia Declaration of Rights

* July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence adopted

* September 3, 1783 Treaty of Paris ends Revolutionary War

* May 25, 1787 U.S. Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia; George Washington unanimously elected convention president

* 1787 Washington first elected U.S. president

* 1788 Madison shepherds 17 Bill of Rights’ amendments through Congress

* 1789 Senate trims down to 12 amendments

* October 2, 1789 President Washington sends 12 amendments to each state; two involving number of constituents per Representative and compensation for Congressmen not ratified

* December 15, 1791 New Hampshire ninth of 13 states to ratify Bill of Rights, providing required three-quarters majority

The Bill of Rights, in brief:

* #1 Protection concerning choice of religion; freedom of speech and press; right to assemble peaceably; petition government to redress grievances

* #2 Maintain regulated militia; right of people to keep and bear arms

* #3 Soldier, without consent of owner, shall not be quartered in any house

* #4 Right to be secure in persons, houses, papers, and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures

* #5 No person held for capital crime without grand jury indictment, except military matters; private property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation

* #6 Right to speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; right to assistance of counsel for defense

* #7 Right to jury trial in common law suits exceeding $20

* #8 No excessive bail, fines, or cruel and unusual punishments meted out

* #9 Constitutional rights cannot be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people

* #10 Powers neither stated in constitution or prohibited there to states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people

Patrick Henry, the renowned orator of “Give me liberty, or give me death” fame, was one who boycotted the Constitutional Convention, fearing the push toward a stronger central government would usurp powers of the of the newly formed states. Yet, even he learned that the Bill of Rights is the name by which state and individual rights are protected.

No comments:

Post a Comment