constitution » Bill of Rights http://constitution.laws.com Constitution- Constitution Law, US Constitution, The Constitution, Constitutional Law Thu, 02 Feb 2017 18:20:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.18 Who Wrote the Bill of Rights? http://constitution.laws.com/who-wrote-the-bill-of-rights http://constitution.laws.com/who-wrote-the-bill-of-rights#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:49:16 +0000 Who Wrote the Bill of Rights?Who Wrote the Bill of Rights?

When posed with the question ‘Who Wrote the Bill of Rights?’ the answer may prove to be fairly ambiguous in its delivery; although historians vary with regard to their respective responses to this question, George Mason and James Madison are considered to be amongst the 2 primary candidates with regard to the authorship of the Bill of Rights.

James Madison: Who Wrote the Bill of Rights?

James Madison – alongside of James Madison – is credited with both the creation, as well as the conception of the Bill of Rights; as a result of his notice of the absence of a Constitutional Clause providing a system for both the amendment and adjustment of the original text, a clause was subsequently created rectifying these concerns – the actions of James Madison resulted in the proposal of the Bill of Rights in 1789, as well as its subsequent ratification in 1791.

George Mason: Who Wrote the Bill of Rights?

George Mason was a delegate from the state of Virginia, who is credited alongside James Madison with the passing – and subsequent creation – of the Bill of Rights; Mason is noted for his refusal to sign the Constitution. George Mason considered the fact that the Constitution lacked a clause that allowed for the passing of amendments, the addition of this clause would become the Bill of Rights.

Who Wrote the Bill of Rights? – An Exploration

The Bill of rights not only outlined a framework for a legislative system, but also mandated an identifiable statute with regard to alterations, adjustments, and modifications to the original text; the following is an exploration of the first 10 Constitutional Amendments – also known as the bill of Rights:

1st Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: This Amendment affords citizens of the United States with the freedom of religion, the freedom of press, the freedom of speech, and the right of assembly

2nd Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: The right to bear arms in a lawful manner with regard to self-protection; firearms covered under the 2nd Amendment do not address service within the Militia

3rd Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: The 3rd Amendment prohibits unlawful entry with regard to private resident(s) in possession of citizens of the United States of America; the 3rd Amendment is not typically applicable to times of war

4th Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: The 4th Amendment prohibits the unlawful search and seizure of resident belonging to citizens of the United States of America; this amendment also defines the rights of privacy awarded to citizens of the United States

5th Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: The 5th Amendment addresses the modern incarnation of the ‘Right to remain silent’; this Amendment also prevents the unlawful and unethical abuse of power undertaken by a governing body

6th Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: The 6th Amendment addresses legal procedure undertaken with regard to the prosecution – and investigation – of alleged criminal activity; this Amendment includes the right to a judicially-sound trial

7th Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: The 7th Amendment affords individuals undergoing judicial trials with the right to be tried in accordance with the presence of a jury; juries present within judicial trials are indicated to consist of an individual’s ‘peers’

8th Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: The 8th Amendment addresses legal criminal procedure; this Amendment prohibits punitive recourse classified as ‘cruel and unusual’ with regard to prosecution, as well as the prohibition of an excessive bail process

9th Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: The 9th Amendment serves as legislative protection with regard to corollary Amendments within the Bill of Rights; this Amendment disallows for the violation of civil liberties and unlawful expansion of governmental power

10th Amendment

Date Proposed: September, 25th 1789

Date Ratified: December 15th, 1791

Contents of the Amendment: The 10th Amendment addresses the apportionment process latent within administrative responsibilities; this Amendment expressed that any or all administrative powers that have not been claimed by Federal or State governments become the responsibility of the general populace

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History Bill Of Rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/history-bill-of-rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/history-bill-of-rights#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:49:10 +0000 History Bill Of Rights
The United States Bill of Rights, which consists the first 10 Amendments found in the Constitution, grants unequivocal civil liberties to the individual American. The Bill of Rights originated through sentiments that stood against dominating governments. The memories of a controlling government loomed large in the American consciousness. Through the levying of unfair and obscene taxes, American settlers were constantly oppressed by the autocratic British Monarchy. When the Revolutionary War was won and America gained independence from Britain, the need for an efficient Constitution became critical.
A governing doctrine was essential to fairly distribute power between the Federal Government, the State governments, and the individual American. Adopted in 1777, the Articles of Confederation was the first recognized Constitution, but failed to equally distribute power among the three entities. Although constantly ratified throughout the subsequent five years, the Articles of Confederation did not include any civil liberties for the individual American.
  
The Federalist Party led by Alexander Hamilton was keen on adopting a Constitution that focused primarily on a sturdy Federal Government. Hamilton and other members of the Federalist Party sought to create a powerful governing body to properly function and administer taxes, laws, and policy. The original framers of the Constitution were focused on creating a healthy and powerful machine, as opposed to offering civil liberties to the individuals which encompassed the machine. The adopted Constitution was filled with irony. Americans just won independence from a country which was viewed as possessing too powerful of a government.
   
The original Constitution included only a few specific individual liberties: laws that prohibit both Federal and State governments from punishing citizens for ex post facto violations (laws that are violated that were not considered criminal at the time), protection against states from impairing contracts, and legislative determinations of punishment for criminal actions.
Although these rights were limited, James Madison, the author of the United States Bill of Rights, felt as though the true liberties were administered through the separation of powers between Federal and State governments. Even though, the Articles of Confederation offered rights that seemed substantial to James Madison and other Anti-Federalist advocates, momentum was still gaining in regards to the adoption of undeniable individual rights.
   
Along with the Anti-Federalist Party, the exclusion of individual rights also created a stir among the working class and poor citizens of America. Revolts such as Shay’s Rebellion put pressure on State leaders to observe the voice of the people and deliberate in regards to an inclusion of individual rights in the Constitution.
When the Articles of Confederation were first adopted, State leaders and legislators would hold ratification meetings to field any ideas or suggestions to amend the framework. On September 12th, 1787, Charles Pickney, a delegate, and a leader of the Anti-Federalist Party, proposed several individual rights to the committee including: liberty of the press and a ban on accommodating soldiers in private homes. Although the proposal was rejected, the matter habitually came up and created inertia for the Anti-Federalist Party.
   
As proposals for a United States Bill of Rights continued to be rejected, James Madison grew increasingly motivated to offer a proposal himself. During the fall of 1788, Madison let his desires be heard, as he continually raised the issue of an impending proposal. Madison believed that a United States Bill of Rights would be educational; it would be a vehicle used to rally Americans together to fight a future oppressive government and instill patriotism for a country that offered such liberties.
   
When the first Congressional meeting took place in 1789, Virginia Congressman James Madison officially proposed a version of the United States Bill of Rights. The original proposal included twelve Amendments, some of which were immediately rejected, others of which were subsequently modified. Along with his draft of the United States Bill of Rights, Madison gave a calculated speech that answered questions posed by skeptics.
The opposing Federalist Party viewed the United States Bill of Rights as redundant, for liberties were inherent in the original Constitution. Madison, however, scoffed at this viewpoint and repeatedly stated that the rights of the individual are the driving force for a free nation.
   
The original United States Bill of Rights was a derivative based off of individual State Constitutions. Madison constructed Virginia’s Constitution, which offered numerous individual rights to its citizens. The proposal eventually gained the 3/4 necessary vote for adoption on December 12th, 1791. The Amendments were viewed as a compromise; the United States Bill of Rights offered the individual unquestioned liberties, while establishing the Federal Government as the powerful overseer to such rights.
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Importance in American Jurisprudence http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/importance-in-american-jurisprudence http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/importance-in-american-jurisprudence#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:49:10 +0000 Importance in American Jurisprudence
Although created over 200 years ago, the Bill of Rights is still incorporated into America’s legal system. Barron v. Baltimore, a Supreme Court case from 1833, established a precedent that the Bill of Rights can only apply to the Federal Government. In the years following, other cases such as United States vs. Cruikshank maintained the precedent established in 1833 and held that the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution did not apply to State or local governments. 
Beginning in the early 1890s, however, the sentiments of the Supreme Court shifted. Numerous decisions involving cases that reflected Constitutional rights were interpreted through the 14th Amendment. Through the Due Process Clause established in the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bill of Rights is susceptible to inclusion against State governments.
   
Due process is a principle outlined in the 14th Amendment that forces the Federal Government to respect all legal rights awarded to an individual according to U.S. law. The Supreme Court has interpreted this Amendment as a direct extension of the Bill of Rights (and the entire Constitution) to all levels of Government. Although some of the Amendments outlined in the American Constitution are archaic, due process enables most of them to extend to all matters of the law.
   
The 1925 case of Gitlow v. New York is regarded as the official genesis in regards to the incorporation of the Bill of Rights into State Constitutional law. During this case, Gitlow, an American citizen and member of the Socialist Party, was accused of criminal anarchy for his role in the publication of the “Left Wing Manifesto.” The State court upheld the conviction citing clear and present danger as its justification, but the Supreme Court overturned the decision, ruling that the First Amendment protected Gitlow’s free speech and freedom of press rights. This case established perhaps the most important Amendment (freedom of speech) into everyday life.
   
The following list details the Bill of Rights, how it pertains to Constitutional law, and various court cases which solidified its place in everyday society.
1st Amendment: Guarantees the establishment and free practice of religion, along with freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.
Establishment of religion became introduced through the decision in Everson v. Board of Education. In 1947, using the American Constitution as his justification, a New Jersey citizen and taxpayer fought against a State law that authorized payments to school boards as a form of reimbursement for transportation costs. Of the schools which benefited, more than 96% were found to be private parochial Catholic Schools. Everson successfully argued that New jersey violated the First Amendment by unfairly excluding other non-catholic schools from receiving State funding.          
Freedom of speech is offered to all citizens and enables Americans to express themselves without censorship or limitation. Established by the previously mentioned Gitlow v. New York case, freedom of speech will be upheld in all Constitutional law cases.
         
Free practice of religion was established in the 1940 Supreme Court case Cantwell v. Connecticut. Newton Cantwell, a Jehovah’s Witness, was attempting to espouse his religious beliefs in a highly Roman Catholic neighborhood of Connecticut. Cantwell and his two sons were going door to door with pamphlets and books attempting to convert the citizens of the community. Cantwell and his two sons were arrested and charged with illegal solicitation and a breach of the peace. The Court administering the case ruled that Cantwell was not in violation of any wrongdoing for he was under protection of the 1st and 14th Amendments.
2nd Amendment: The right to bear arms is arguably the most controversial Amendment in the American Constitution. Under Constitutional law the interpretation has varied from an individual right to an archaic liberty that only benefits militias.
3rd Amendment: Freedom from quartering soldiers is not that relevant by today’s standards and has not been incorporated into State Constitutional law.
4th Amendment: Protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizure. The 4th Amendment in the American Constitution also requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant or possess unreasonable doubt before entering an individual’s private property.
5th Amendment: Offers an individual the right to indictment by a grand jury; protects an individual from double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and the taking of private property without just compensation.
6th Amendment: This Amendment is present in all trials or court cases in America. The 6th Amendment in the American Constitution guarantees an individual the right to a fair, speedy, and public trial. The 6th Amendment also enables an individual to have legal assistance, regardless of the charge, and the right to confront adverse witnesses and notice of accusations. These rights are given to all men and women under trial for any sort of wrongdoing; they establish the “innocent until proven guilty” mantra that is present in the United State’s legal system.
7th Amendment: Offers individuals the right to a jury trial during civil court cases.
8th Amendment: Protects individuals from the Government imposing excessive bail and excessive fines during pending trials. The 8th Amendment in the American Constitution also protects individuals from cruel and unusual punishment for acts committed. Under this Amendment American citizens are free from torture, humiliating punishments, or punishments which degrade a human being.
9th Amendment and 10th Amendment: Due to their broadness and repetitive nature, these particular Amendments do not necessarily apply to Constitutional law.
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Non inclusion in Original Constitution Explained http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/non-inclusion-in-original-constitution http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/non-inclusion-in-original-constitution#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:49:10 +0000 Non inclusion in Original Constitution Explained

Created in
1777, the Articles of Confederation was the first Constitution adopted by the
newly established United States of America. The original draft was written by a
committee appointed by the Continental Congress, and subsequently ratified by State
leaders. In addition to solidifying and legally establishing the United States,
the Articles of Confederation focused primarily on the distribution of powers
between Federal and State governments.

The first
constitution merged all states into one union, but enabled the individual
jurisdictions to retain sovereignty, as it pertained to governmental functions
not overseen by the Federal Government. After the initial construction, the
Articles of Confederation were then ratified over a four year period. The final
draft was adopted on March 1st, 1781, which officially appointed the governing
body of the United States of America.

Known as the
Congress of Confederation, the Federal Government established a distinct set of
powers: the Confederation could negotiate diplomatic agreements, create war,
and resolve issues in regards to western expansion. The articles were chosen
and voted on by representatives of the states. This is crucial in
acknowledging, because the original Constitution primarily focused on balancing
governmental power between Federal and State governments.

   
The Articles of Confederation did not pertain to
individual rights, nor did it acknowledge them. Arguments posed by Anti-Federalist
leaders were thwarted through rhetoric that revolved around an “unwritten
interpretation within the Constitution for individual rights.” In fact,
powerful Federalists such as Alexander Hamilton actually called for a revision
of the articles, claiming that they failed in creating a powerful central
government.

Under the Articles
the Government raised revenue through requests made to the states. Hamilton and
other Federalists wanted a central government that could properly enforce
levies as well as create a succinct law system. The efforts made by the Federalists
exemplify the notion that the individual was merely an afterthought; the
“necessary revisions” focused on empowering the Government and
further displacing the rights of the citizen. 

On September
17th, 1787 the Constitutional Convention gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
in response to discontent with the Articles of Confederation and the need for a
more active centralized government. State leaders, respected politicians,
lawmakers, and our Founding Fathers were all present during this Convention.
The process to ratify the Constitution was an open forum; opinions and open
debates were encouraged. This sociable gathering allowed all opinions,
viewpoints, and sentiments to be freely expressed.

   
During the Constitutional Convention, the feud
between Federalists and Anti-Federalists reached a climax. The meeting, which
focused on empowering the central government, quickly shifted towards
individual liberties. Questions pertaining to civil rights frequently emanated,
as Anti-Federalist leaders stated their case for an inclusion of civil rights.
George Mason, a prominent advocate for individual liberties stated, “I
wish the Constitution had been prefaced with a Bill of Rights.” The sentiments
expressed by leading Anti-Federalists were heard, but not tangibly met.

Leading
federalists, Alexander Hamilton and Roger Sherman, reiterated the goals of the
Convention: the meeting was held to discuss matters as they pertain to
separation of powers and strengthening the central government. Although the Anti-Federalist
movement was gaining momentum, the majority of State leaders expressed a
similar belief to Hamilton and Sherman.

  
The majority of those who influenced the drafting
of the first Constitution claimed that individual rights were implied and
protected through the creation of the three independent branches. Leaders of
the Federalist Party felt as though a concrete adoption of a Bill of Rights
was superfluous, for civil liberties were innately included into the
Constitution.

The argument
between the two parties essentially revolved around a definite Bill of Rights,
one which civilians could read themselves. Thomas Jefferson, a member of the Anti-Federalist
Party, felt as though ordinary individuals would not be able to interpret the
Constitution and its “innate inclusion of a bill of rights.” Although
the Convention did not include the Bill of Rights into the Constitution, the
opinions of respected Anti-Federalist members eventually proved influential, as
the Amendments were later adopted in 1792.  

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The United States Bill of Rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/united-states-bill-of-rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/united-states-bill-of-rights#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:47:05 +0000 The United States Bill of Rights
The United States Bill of Rights, which is the first 10 Amendments found in the Constitution, grants unequivocal civil liberties to the individual American. The Bill of Rights originated through sentiments that stood against dominating governments. The memories of a controlling government loomed large in the American consciousness. Through the levying of unfair and obscene taxes, American settlers were constantly oppressed by the autocratic British Monarchy.
When the Revolutionary War was won and America gained independence from Britain, the need for an efficient Constitution became critical. A governing doctrine was essential to fairly distribute power between the Federal Government, the State governments, and the individual American.
Adopted in 1777, the Articles of Confederation was the first recognized Constitution, but failed to equally distribute power among the three entities. Although constantly ratified throughout the subsequent five years, the Articles of Confederation did not include any civil liberties for the individual American.
   
The Federalist Party, led by Alexander Hamilton, was keen on adopting a Constitution that focused primarily on a sturdy Federal Government. Hamilton and other members of the Federalist Party sought to create a powerful governing body to properly function and administer taxes, laws, and policy. The original framers of the Constitution were focused on creating a healthy and powerful machine, as opposed to offering civil liberties to the individuals that encompass the machine. The adopted Constitution was filled with irony-Americans just won independence from a country which was viewed as possessing too powerful of a government. 
    
The original Constitution included only a few specific individual liberties: laws that prohibit both Federal and State governments from punishing citizens for ex post facto violations (laws that are violated that were not considered criminal at the time), protection against states from impairing contracts, and legislative determinations of punishment for criminal actions. Although these rights were limited, James Madison, the author of the United States Bill of Rights, felt as though the true liberties were administered through the separation of powers between the Federal and State governments. Even though, the Articles of Confederation offered rights that seemed substantial to James Madison and other anti-Federalist advocates, momentum was still gaining in regards to the adoption of undeniable individual rights.
    
Along with the Anti-Federalist Party, the exclusion of individual rights also created a stir among the working class and poor citizens of America. Revolts such as Shay’s Rebellion put pressure on State leaders to observe the voice of the people and deliberate in regards to an inclusion of individual rights in the Constitution.
When the Articles of Confederation was first adopted, State leaders and legislators would hold ratification meetings to field any ideas or suggestions to amend the framework. On September 12th, 1787 Charles Pickney, a delegate, and a leader of the Anti-Federalist Party, proposed several individual rights to the committee including: liberty of the press and a ban on accommodating soldiers in private homes. Although the proposal was rejected, the matter habitually came up and created inertia for the Anti-Federalist Party.
    
As proposals for a United States Bill of Rights continued to be rejected, James Madison grew increasingly motivated to offer a proposal himself. During the fall of 1788, Madison let his desires be heard, as he continually raised the issue of an impending proposal. Madison believed that a United States Bill of Rights would be educational. It would be a vehicle used to rally Americans together to fight a future oppressive government and instill patriotism for a country that offered such liberties.
    
When the first Congressional meeting met in 1789, Virginia Congressman James Madison officially proposed a version of the United States Bill of Rights. The original proposal included twelve Amendments, some of which were immediately rejected, others which were subsequently modified. Along with his draft of the United States Bill of Rights, Madison gave a calculated speech that answered questions posed by skeptics.
The opposing Federalist Party viewed the United States Bill of Rights as redundant, for liberties were inherent in the original Constitution. Madison, however, scoffed at this viewpoint and repeatedly stated that the rights of the individual are the driving force for a free nation.
    
The original United States Bill of Rights was a derivative based off of individual States’ Constitutions. Madison constructed Virginia’s Constitution, which offered numerous individual rights to its citizens. The proposal eventually gained the 3/4 necessary vote for adoption on December 12th, 1791. The Amendments were viewed as a compromise. The United States Bill of Rights offered the individual unquestioned liberties, while establishing the Federal Government as the powerful overseer to such rights.
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The English Bill of Rights and United States Bill of Rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/english-bill-of-rights-and-united-states-bill-of-rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/english-bill-of-rights-and-united-states-bill-of-rights#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:47:05 +0000 The English Bill of Rights and United States Bill of Rights

When America
was under British control, colonials often mistrusted or felt abused by overbearing
governments. Settlers were commonly imprisoned for failing to pay debts created
through unjust tax burdens. The citizens of America were teetering on the brink
of revolution from autocracy’s mistreatment.

When America
won its Revolution in 1776 the need for an established Federal Government was
paramount. Federalist leaders such as Alexander Hamilton yearned for a
governing body that was powerful enough to impose an effective system of laws,
taxes, and policy. The original Constitution established America as a sovereign
nation and awarded unanimous power to the Federal Government and the individual
State.

The first
draft of the Constitution (known as the Articles of Confederation drafted in
1787) created a unique system of checks and balances that separated powers
between an executive branch, a representative legislature, and a Federal
judiciary system. Initially thought to be fair and balanced, the Constitution
was severely flawed due to the exclusion of individual rights.

    
Fearful of a British replicate, the anti-Federalist
party, led by James Madison, George Mason, and Patrick Henry, attempted to
amend the Constitution with an inclusion of individual rights. Although a firm
supporter of individual freedoms, James Madison did not feel obligated to
include such amendments in the initial Constitution. Madison’s original
sentiment expressed a need for an established government and claimed that
individual rights were included in the original amendments.

Although
Madison was a member of the anti-Federalist party, he was not originally
engaged in a concerted effort for the proposal of such amendments. The initial
spark for an individualistic movement was created during the ratification
process of the first Constitution.

When the
Articles of Confederation were adopted the leaders of individual states would
routinely meet at an assembly hall to express views or offer ideas on how to
improve the Constitution. During these ratification meetings (congressional
hearings) many State leaders and anti-Federalist members called for an
inclusion of a series of individual liberties. The leaders of these movements,
most notably Patrick Henry and George Mason, attempted to sway leaders of the
states to pass a Bill of Rights, which specifically administered freedoms to the
individual citizen. Their efforts were futile in terms of a vote (9 out of 13
votes were required for ratification), but not in regards to influence.

James Madison
observed the fervor which these men possessed towards individual freedoms and
soon became active himself. Madison quickly realized that it was his obligation
to lead the movement for the Bill of Rights. Without his involvement, Madison
believed that the United States Government would have never extended such
rights to the individual. Without individual rights, the American Government
would inevitably become a duplicate of the British Empire. 

    
James Madison won election to the House of
Representatives and immediately fulfilled his pledge to draft a set of civil
liberties to the Constitution. On June 8th, 1789, Madison officially revealed
his Bill of Rights proposal and gave a calculated speech in front of Congress.
The speech aimed to answer any doubts or questions raised by the Federalist Party.

The proposal
itself was derived from several State Constitutions and ratifying conventions.
Madison used his own State’s (Virginia) Constitution, published by George
Mason, as a general framework.

The Bill of Rights
contained 413 words and originally detailed twelve undeniable rights to the
individual. The ratification process whittled the Bill of Rights to 8 Amendments
and then eventually 12. On December 15th, 1791, the Bill of Rights was
officially adopted into the United States Constitution. James Madison published
the Amendments and successfully orated for the inclusion of them in the
Constitution. However, without the efforts of George Mason and Patrick Henry,
Madison’s limited motivation may have impeded such feats from being
accomplished. 


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The Bill of Rights Amendments http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/bill-of-rights-amendments http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/bill-of-rights-amendments#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:47:05 +0000 The Bill of Rights Amendments
Although created over 200 years ago, the Bill of Rights is still incorporated into America’s legal system. Barron vs. Baltimore, a Supreme Court case from 1833 established a precedent that the Bill of Rights can only apply to the Federal Government. In the years following, other cases such as United States v. Cruikshank maintained the precedent established in 1833 and held that the First and Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution did not apply to State or local governments. 
Beginning in the early 1890s, however, the sentiments of the Supreme Court shifted. Numerous decisions involving cases that reflected Constitutional rights were interpreted through the 14th Amendment. Through the Due Process Clause established in the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bill of Rights is susceptible to inclusion against State governments.
Due process is a principle outlined in the 14th Amendment that forces the Federal Government to respect all legal rights awarded to an individual according to U.S. law. The Supreme Court has interpreted this Amendment as a direct extension of the Bill of Rights (and the entire Constitution) to all levels of Government. Although some of the Amendments outlined in the American Constitution are archaic, Due Process enables most of them to extend to all matters of the law.
    
The 1925 case of Gitlow vs. New York is regarded as the official genesis in regards to the incorporation of the Bill of Rights into State Constitutional law. During this case, Gitlow, an American citizen and member of the Socialist Party, was accused of criminal anarchy for his role in the publication of the “Left Wing Manifesto.” The State court upheld the conviction citing clear and present danger as its justification, but the Supreme Court overturned the decision ruling that the First Amendment protected Gitlow’s free speech and freedom of press rights. This case established perhaps the most important Amendment (freedom of speech) into everyday life. 
    
The following list will detail the Bill of Rights, how it pertains to Constitutional law, and various court cases which solidified its place in everyday society.
1st Amendment-Guarantees the establishment and free practice of religion, along with freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.
●  Establishment of religion became introduced through the decision in Everson vs. Board of Education. In 1947, using the American Constitution as his justification, a New Jersey citizen and taxpayer fought against a State law that authorized payments to school boards as a form of reimbursement for transportation costs. Of the schools who benefited, more than 96% were found to be private parochial Catholic Schools. Everson successfully argued that New Jersey violated the First Amendment by unfairly excluding other non-Catholic schools from receiving State funding.
●  Freedom of speech is offered to all citizens and enables Americans to express themselves without censorship or limitation. Established by the previously mentioned Gitlow vs New York, freedom of speech will be upheld in all Constitutional law cases.
●  Free practice of religion was established in the 1940 Supreme Court case of Cantwell vs. Connecticut. Newton Cantwell, a Jehovah’s Witness, was attempting to espouse his religious beliefs in a highly Roman Catholic neighborhood in Connecticut. Cantwell and his two sons were going door to door with pamphlets and books attempting to convert the citizens of the community. Cantwell and his two sons were arrested and charged with illegal solicitation and a breach of the peace. The Court administering the case ruled that Cantwell was not in violation of any wrongdoing for he was under protection of the 1st and 14th Amendments.
2nd Amendment
The right to bear arms is arguably the most controversial Amendment in the American Constitution. Under Constitutional law, the interpretation has varied from an individual right to an archaic liberty that only benefits militias.
3rd Amendment
Freedom from quartering soldiers is not that relevant by today’s standards and has not been incorporated with State Constitutional law.
4th Amendment
Protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizure. The 4th Amendment in the American constitution also requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant or possess unreasonable doubt before entering an individual’s private property.
5th Amendment
Offers an individual the right to indictment by a grand jury; protects an individual from double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and the taking of private property without just compensation. 

6th Amendment
This Amendment is present in all trials or court cases in America. The 6th Amendment in the American Constitution guarantees an individual the right to a fair, speedy, and public trial. The 6th Amendment also enables an individual to have legal assistance, regardless of the charge, and the right to confront adverse witnesses and notice of accusations. These rights are given to all men or women under trial for any sort of wrongdoing. They establish the “innocent until proven guilty” mantra that is present in the United States legal system. 
7th Amendment
Offers individuals the right to a jury trial during civil court cases. 
8th Amendment
Protects individuals from the Government imposing excessive bail and excessive fines during pending trials. The 8th Amendment in the American Constitution also protects individuals from cruel and unusual punishment for acts committed. Under this Amendment American citizens are free from torture, humiliating punishments, or punishments which degrade a human being.
9th Amendment and 10th Amendment
Due to their broadness and repetitive nature, these particular Amendments do not necessarily apply to Constitutional law.
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An Easy Guide to the Bill of Rights for Kids http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:47:05 +0000 An Easy Guide to the Bill of Rights for Kids

The Bill of Rights, or first ten Amendments of the Constitution,
are the undeniable rights awarded to American citizens. Published over 200
years ago, these rights still hold incredible significance as it pertains to
present day society.

 

When they were first introduced, the Bill of Rights only extended
to matters overseen by the Federal Government. Trials or instances where the
rights were in question did not associate with State governments until the
early 1890s. Using the 14th Amendment as its platform, the United States
extended the reach of the Bill of Rights to State governments through the
incorporation doctrine. 

The 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution provided American citizens
with a broad definition of their undeniable rights. The Due Process Clause,
perhaps the Amendment’s most important subsection, recognizes a series of
substantive due process rights including: parental, marriage, and procedural
rights. The Due Process Clause enabled State governments to recognize the
liberties offered in the Bill of Rights to individuals. It simply forced the Government
to respect all legal rights established in the Constitution. 

Prior to adoption and subsequent ratification of the 14th Amendment, the
Supreme Court consistently held that the Bill of Rights applied specifically to
the Federal Government. Inclusion into State law arose in the early 1890s when
a series of Supreme Court questioned the credibility of the first 10 Amendments
on a State level. 
   
The two most notable Supreme Court cases which sparked the genesis of the
incorporation doctrine were Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
Railroad v. City of Chicago
 (1897) and Gitlow vs. New York (1925). In each of these
cases, the Supreme Court ruled that the individual State governments were bound
to uphold the particular civil liberties awarded in the Constitution.

 

In the Quincy Railroad case
the Supreme Court ruled that some form of just compensation is required for
property appropriated by State or local governments. This particular ruling
upheld and extended the rights detailed in the 5th Amendment to Quincy as they
pertained to State governments. 
    
The 1925 Supreme Court case of Gitlow vs New York
is perhaps the most notable inclusion of the Bill of Rights into State law.
Benjamin Gitlow was an American socialist who was convicted of criminal anarchy
for his role in the production of a Communist publication-“The Left Wing
Manifesto.” The courts claimed that Gitlow was attempting to augment a
violent overthrow of the Government through his publication and teachings.
Although the New York court found him guilty, the Supreme Court upheld Gitlow’s
rights to free speech and free press and later freed him of charges. The Court stated
in its decision, “for present purposes, we may assume that freedom of
speech and of press…are among the fundamental personal rights and liberties
protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment
by the State.” The Supreme Court’s ruling was a fundamental starting point
for the Bill of Rights to be observed and respected by State law. 
    
Rulings such as Burlington and Quincy Railroad v. City of
Chicago
 (1897), and Gitlow vs. New York (1925)
have cemented the inclusion of the Bill of Rights into State law. However,
there are a few Amendments, due to their broadness, ambiguity, or archaic
nature, which have not been incorporated into State governments. Below is a
listing of the Amendments found in the Bill of Rights and their status in
regards to State law. 

1st Amendment
-



● Establishment of religion-incorporated 

● Free exercise of religion-incorporated

● Freedom of speech-incorporated

● Freedom of the press-incorporated

● Freedom of assembly-incorporated


2nd Amendment-The right to bear arms is not incorporated against the states.

3rd Amendment
-Freedom of quartering soldiers is not incorporated against the states.

4th Amendment



● Protection against unreasonable search and seizure-incorporated

● Various requirements for warrants-incorporated

● Judgments pertaining to unreasonable acquisitions of warrants-incorporated


5th Amendment-



● Right to indictment by a grand jury has not been incorporated-the majority of state
constitutions have previously upheld this right.

● Protection against double jeopardy-incorporated

● Protection against self-incrimination-incorporated


6th Amendment-



● Right to a speedy trial-incorporated

● Right to a public trial-incorporated

● Right to trial by impartial jury-incorporated

● Right to notice of accusations-incorporated

● Right to confront adverse witnesses-incorporated

● Right to assistance of counsel-incorporated


7th Amendment-The right to a jury trial in civil cases
is not incorporated against the states.

8th Amendment
-



● Protections against “excessive” bail or
“excessive” fines have not been incorporated against the states.

● Protection against cruel and unusual punishment-incorporated


9th Amendment-Rights of the people that are not
specifically detailed in the Constitution are not incorporated against
the states.

10th Amendment-Powers not granted to the national Government
and reserved to the states and the people-incorporated.

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The American Bill of Rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/american-bill-of-rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/american-bill-of-rights#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:47:05 +0000 The American Bill of Rights

Known as the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution were officially ratified in 1791. The Bill of Rights offered American citizens undeniable rights, essential for maintaining a free country. The liberties offered in the Constitution ensured Americans that the central government would not abuse its power through tyranny or unjust actions. The Bill of Rights also offered the ability to express opinion and thought freely without the fear of Government persecution. 

Written by James Madison, the first 10 Amendments in the United States Constitution were originally met with skepticism. Led by Alexander Hamilton, the anti-Federalist party believed that the inclusion of individual rights into the Constitution was redundant and frivolous.

The Bill of Rights was adopted 3 years from the original drafting of the United States Constitution. Considering the historical implications, the process to include the Bill of Rights into the Constitution was fairly quick. However, the influences upon which it was built stem back centuries prior. 
    
After the United States won the Revolutionary War and subsequently earned its freedom, the adoption of a Constitution was necessary for establishment purposes. The Revolution was spawned through injustice enforced by the controlling British Government. American settlers grew embittered from constant taxes and wrongful convictions.

Although the Bill of Rights was created to free Americans from a powerful central government, its influences, ironically, stem from British doctrines and literature. The following are three substantial precursors which influenced the adoption of the Bill of Rights into the United States Constitution:

The Magna Carta (1215)

In 1215, tired of immoral taxing and arbitrary actions committed by the King, a group of English noblemen forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. The legendary doctrine guaranteed common citizens such fundamental rights as: the government must be fair and reasonable with their actions; individuals are guaranteed a trial by jury and due process of law.

The basic rights offered in the Magna Carta originally were awarded solely to noblemen. However, the rights were eventually extended to all people of society. The Magna Carta diminished a Monarch's absolute power and enabled all citizens basic rights which impede tyrannous actions.

The Magna Carta is still recognized as an initial breakthrough for common citizens in regards to limiting governmental powers. Like all civil codes, the United States Constitution used the Magna Carta as a foundation upon which to build. 

Petition of Right (1628)

Although the Magna Carta officially limited the powers of the Monarchy, it was often by the King and his unjust policies. As citizens grew furious over the Monarchy, the Parliament, or English legislature grew in influence. Parliament eventually refused the approval of more taxes issued by King Charles I and forced him to sign the Petition of Right which prohibited the government from unlawfully arresting people and housing troops in private homes without consent from the owner. This petition clearly influenced the Third Amendment (prohibited soldiers from quartering on an individual's private property) and Fifth Amendment to the United States constitution. 

Bill of Rights (1689)

This document guaranteed all British subjects the right to bear arms and petition the King. This British version of the Bill of Rights also protected citizens from excessive bails, fines, and cruel and unusual punishment. The British version protected far less rights than the American Bill of Rights. However, the United States Constitution clearly adopted provisions (protections against excessive fines, punishments, and bails) found in the 8th Amendment, as well as a direct adoption of the 2nd Amendment (right to bear arms.)

Amendments and provisions of the Bill of Rights were undoubtedly adopted through British doctrine. However, a slew of domestic individual liberties existed before the ratification of the United States Constitution. Before the creation of the English Bill of Rights, many colonies recognized individual liberties through their own constitutions. For instance, in 1636, Rhode Island established itself as the first colony to recognize freedom of consciousness. In 1641, Massachusetts created the Massachusetts Body of Liberties which detailed a list of protected rights for the individual colonist. In 149, Maryland extended the right to practice any religion.

Perhaps the greatest influence for the creation of the Bill of Rights can be found in The Virginia Declaration of Rights. Created by the author of the Bill of Rights himself, James Madison, the Virginia Declaration of Rights was published on June 12th, 1776. The Virginia Declaration offered 16 individual rights to its citizens, many of which were repeated in the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. 

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The United States Bill of Rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/the-united-states-bill-of-rights http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/the-united-states-bill-of-rights#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:47:05 +0000 The United States Bill of Rights
Created in 1777, the Articles of Confederation was the first Constitution adopted by the newly established United States of America. The original draft was written by a committee appointed by the Continental Congress, and subsequently ratified by state leaders. In addition to solidifying and legally establishing the United States, the Articles of Confederation focused primarily on the distribution of powers between the Federal and State Governments.
The first Constitution merged all states into one union, but enabled the individual jurisdictions to retain sovereignty as it pertained to governmental functions not overseen by the Federal Government. After the initial construction, the Articles of Confederation were then ratified over a four year period. The final draft was adopted on March 1st, 1781, which officially appointed the governing body of the United States of America. 
Known as the Congress of Confederation, the Federal Government established a distinct set of powers: the Confederation could negotiate diplomatic agreements, create war, and resolve issues in regards to western expansion. The Articles were chosen and voted on by representatives of the state. This is crucial in acknowledging, because the original Constitution primarily focused on balancing governmental power between the Federal and State Governments.
The Articles of Confederation did not pertain to individual rights nor even acknowledge them. Arguments posed by anti-Federalist leaders were thwarted through rhetoric that revolved around an “unwritten interpretation within the Constitution for individual rights”. In fact, powerful Federalists such as Alexander Hamilton actually called for a revision of the Articles, claiming that they failed in creating a powerful central government.
Under the Articles, the Government raised revenue through requests made to states; Hamilton and other Federalists wanted a central government that could properly enforce levies as well as create a succinct law system. The efforts made by the Federalists exemplify the notion that the individual was merely an afterthought. The “necessary revisions” focused on empowering the Government and further displacing the rights of the citizen.  
In Philadelphia, PA, on September 17th, 1787, the Constitutional Convention gathered in response to discontent with the Articles of Confederation and the need for a more active centralized government. State leaders, respected politicians, lawmakers, and our Founding Fathers were all present during this Convention.
The process to ratify the Constitution was an open forum; opinions and open debates were encouraged. This sociable gathering allowed all opinions, viewpoints, and sentiments to be freely expressed. 
During the Constitutional Convention the feud between Federalists and anti-Federalists reached a climax. The meeting, which focused on empowering the central Government, quickly shifted towards individual liberties. Questions pertaining to civil rights frequently emanated, as anti-Federalist leaders stated their case for an inclusion of civil rights. George Mason, a prominent advocate for individual liberties stated, “I wish the Constitution had been prefaced with a Bill of Rights”.
The sentiments expressed by leading anti-Federalists were heard, but not tangibly met. Leading Federalists, Alexander Hamilton and Roger Sherman reiterated the goals of the Convention. The meeting was held to discuss matters as they pertain to separation of powers and strengthening the central Government. Although the anti-Federalist movement was gaining momentum, the majority of state leaders expressed a similar belief to Hamilton and Sherman. 
The majority of those who influenced the drafting of the first Constitution claimed that individual rights were implied and protected through the creation of the three independent branches. Leaders of the Federalist Party felt as though a concrete adoption of a Bill of Rights was superfluous, for civil liberties were innately included into the Constitution.
The argument between the two parties essentially revolved around a definite Bill of Rights, one which civilians can read themselves. Thomas Jefferson, a member of the anti-Federalist Party felt as though ordinary individuals would not be able to interpret the Constitution and its “innate inclusion of a Bill of Rights”. Although the Convention did not include the Bill of Rights into the Constitution, the opinions of respected anti-Federalist members eventually proved influential, as the Amendments were later adopted in 1792.   
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