Bill of Rights Non-Inclusion in Original Constitution Explained

Non-Inclusion in Original Constitution Explained

Non inclusion in Original Constitution Explained

Non-Inclusion in the Original Constitution: A Critical Examination of American Democracy 

The United States of America is often portrayed as the bastion of democracy and freedom, a shining example of progressive values and equitable treatment of all of its citizens. However, the history of the country’s founding is far more complicated than a simple narrative of freedom and equality. One aspect of that complexity is the non-inclusion in the original constitution. In this article, we will explore the history and meaning of that non-inclusion, and how it laid the groundwork for the struggle for equality that continues to this day.

Origins of Non-Inclusion

The creators of the United States Constitution had several reasons for the non-inclusion of marginalized groups. In some cases, such as those of women and enslaved people, there was simply no political will to recognize their rights as citizens. In other cases, such as those of Indigenous peoples and other nonwhite groups, prejudice and fear fueled the decision to exclude them from full citizenship.
The result was a constitution that enshrined systemic discrimination and white supremacy, laying the groundwork for generations of inequality that would continue to challenge American democracy.

Slavery and the Constitution

Perhaps the most egregious example of non-inclusion in the United States Constitution is slavery. While the Declaration of Independence famously asserts that “all men are created equal,” the original constitution allowed for the continued practice of slavery, counting enslaved individuals as three-fifths of a person for purposes of representation in Congress.
The creators of the Constitution worried that the nation would break apart if slavery were explicitly banned and thus allowed it to continue. The result was nearly a century of institutionalized slavery and decades of post-emancipation oppression.

Women’s Rights and the Constitution

Women were another group that was left out of the original Constitution. The document was seen as a product of the times in which it was created, a time when women were not seen as capable of participating in politics or holding public office.
The idea of universal suffrage was a radical one, and women’s right to vote wouldn’t be enshrined in the Constitution until nearly 150 years later.

Indigenous Peoples and the Constitution

The United States Constitution also failed to recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples, relegating them to second-class citizens in their own lands.
Instead, the Constitution grants broad power to the federal government in treaty-making and territorial control, essentially creating a political system where the US government could justify its expansionist policies and the dispossession of Indigenous lands.

Aftermath and Struggle for Equality

It would take decades of struggle and activism for the non-included groups to secure a place in American democracy. The Civil War, suffrage movement, and the civil rights movement are just a few of the milestones in the struggle for equality in the United States.
While progress has been made, systemic inequality and exclusion continue to be a significant challenge for American democracy. Issues such as police violence, voter suppression, and the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ rights demonstrate how far the country still has to go in terms of true equality.


The non-inclusion of marginalized groups in the United States Constitution has had a profound impact on American democracy, creating the conditions for centuries of institutionalized discrimination and injustice.
Many of the same issues at the heart of the non-inclusion persist today, demonstrating how far the country still has to go in terms of ensuring that all citizens are treated equally under the law.
Moving forward will require continued activism, education, and a fundamental reimagining of how the United States is governed. However, with hard work and determination, American democracy can live up to its promise of equality and freedom for all its citizens.

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 creates 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 the 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 the separation of powers and strengthening the central government. Although the Anti-Federalist the 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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