Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. They were created on September 25th, 1789 and put into effect on December 15th, 1791. They were made to help ease Anti-Federalists, people who were opposed to large government in the United States. The Bill of Rights guarantees certain freedoms and rights to every American citizen, as well as setting limits to the government's power judicially (court). It also establishes that any power not stated in the Bill of Rights is left to the States to decide.
The Bill of Rights were based heavily on earlier documents, such as the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the English Bill of Rights (1689). They were introduced on July 8th, 1789 by Representative James Madison. He proposed 9 amendments to the constitution, one of the major ones being the limitation of the power of congress.
Before the United States Constitution was made, the original 13 states were under the jurisdiction of the Articles of Confederation. These were created by the Second Continental Congress, and were put into place in 1781.
The only issue with this was the government at the time was too weak to enforce things between states, so the Philadelphia Convention, which was a convention held in Philadelphia to discuss changes to the Articles of Confederation, was where the government would sit down and plan a stronger government. It took place from May 14th to September 17th, 1787, and the original purpose was to change the Articles of Confederation into something more manageable.
By the end of the convention, with the help of James Madison, the first United States Constitution was drafted. There was much opposition from Anti-Federalists who opposed the constitution, stating that they did not want such a large, new government. These were people who preferred how the government was currently ran under the Articles and tried to voice their concern against it. When it was proposed to the Articles of Confederation Congress, it was asked that it would be shown to delegates that were elected by each individual state and voted on by those people.
The first five states approved the constitution with relative ease, however it would be an uphill battle trying to convince the other states to follow suit. Eventually, the new government would come into existence on March 4th, 1789 under the United States Constitution.
When the 1st United States Congress met up, Federalists, who were people who supported the new laws, rejoiced in their success. Work would soon start to be made on new amendments, or minor changes to the constitution. These would be the bill of rights.
The first amendment granted freedom of speech, press, assembly (to come together as a group), and the right to protest. The second amendment granted the right to bear arms, and the third stated that soldiers cannot commandeer any house whether in war or peace. The forth made it so no property could be seized unlawfully, while the fifth protected people accused from a crime from being forced to be a witness.
The sixth ensures a jury present at all criminal trials, and the seventh makes it possible for juries in civil disputes. The eighth made it so that no one may suffer 'cruel and unusual punishment', and the ninth protects a citizen's rights from another citizen. The final and tenth amendment states that any power not stated in the constitution would be up to the states to decide.
These final changes to the amendments would take place from the start of congress to September 25th, 1789. These changes would all be pushed to the states 3 days later, and thus the Bill of Rights, which ensured the rights of every American Citizen, would be finalized for the United States.
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