Time: 2:58:42 PM
Remote Name: 22.214.171.124
Elizabeth Horan February 22, 2000
Text Assignment Week Six
The Bill of Rights is a list of rights that our forefathers felt were fundamental to individuals in America. It is written by James Madison, who also wrote many of the Federalist Papers, including one paper that opposed a Bill of Rights stating that it repeated what the Constitution declared. However, many Americans wanted their rights spelled out on paper and not simply implied as they were in the Constitution. The people showed a great demand for the inclusion of a Bill of Rights. For example, at many of the state conventions, those who opposed the Constitution did so because they felt that individual liberties were not clearly stated. The colonists at this point were very cautious of protecting their individual rights from others’ individual greed. Many were worried about men in charge who would abuse their power, and people wanted to protect themselves. One Antifederalist wrote, “It is necessary, that the sober and industrious part of the community should be defended from the rapacity and violence of the vicious and idle.” This quote demonstrates how strongly people felt their rights needed to be protected. Therefore, a Bill of Rights was finally drafted by Madison and put before the House of Representatives to ratify. It basically was designed to protect “individual rights from government interference.” Or as Madison stated, “the majority [operating] against the minority.” On December 15, 1791 the majority of the states accepted the Bill of Rights. From that day on, the Constitution includes this Bill which outlines a variety of rights. It addresses the freedoms of assembly, speech, religion, and the press; guarantees speedy trial by jury; protects the right to bear arms; and prohibits searches without reason. Also included in the last article, is that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Solidly stating the individual rights of the people, the Bill of Rights has become one of the most important parts of the Constitution. What people regard today as a list of rights necessary to our freedom, was not always viewed as such. Today, it is constantly being challenged while still defending rights. Being a journalism major, the Bill of Rights includes the most important part of my future career, that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press.” In addition to journalists, there are many other people that rely on this important inclusion to the Constitution; it has proved to be a necessary part of our country.