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Bill of Rights and Amendments
Bill of Rights and Amendments
The United States of America is by far the most successful Republic governed country in the world and has managed to survive for over 223 years. What has made the United States such a success is the foundation that the framers created, the United States Constitution. The framers knew that with time the needs of the people would evolve due to changes in society, so regulations in the Constitution would need to be adjusted or expanded for the changing times. The adjustments are called Amendments. Since 1788 only Twenty-Seven Amendments have been ratified and added to the United States Constitution and amazingly enough ten of them known as the Bill of Rights were proposed under the First Congress.
As society continues to evolve the Constitution may need to update existing regulations or improvements may need to be made and added to cover issues that were not originally covered in the Constitution such as: abolishment of slavery, the right to vote for all American citizens including women and former slaves, taxes, and right to citizenship just to name a few. Without the admission of amendments the Constitution would be in danger of becoming less relevant to the needs of modern society; for example after the civil war the slaves were free, but where in the constitution did it make it illegal to have slaves? Where did it state that they had a right to vote? It didn?t, that is why the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery was added in 1865, then in 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment was added and in Section 1 reads: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. This now declares their freedom and their rights to vote in the Constitution. The framers knew that amendments would need to be added, that is why they are covered in Article V in the Constitution.
Amending the Constitution is not an easy or quick process. There are two significant steps in the Amendment process. The first step in the process is the proposal, in which either two-thirds of both of the houses of Congress have to agree and deem it necessary to propose a new amendment or two-thirds of the legislature from the fifty states calls a Constitutional Convention to propose Amendments. Once Amendments have been proposed they will then need to be ratified, this too can happen one of two ways. An amendment can be ratified when three-fourths of the legislature from the states vote in favor of the amendment or Congress can direct a ratifying convention where three-fourths of the convention has to vote in favor of the amendment; all but the twenty-first amendment have been ratified by the state legislatures.
The first 10 amendments known as The Bill of Rights are the most important amendments in the Constitution. When the framers were drafting the Constitution their primary focus was establishing a strong and effective federal government, since this was their main focus the Constitution addressed a very limited number of rights for the people. The framers, and notably James Madison, the principal architect, believed that the Constitution protected liberty primarily through its division of powers. ("The Bill Of Rights: Its History And Significance", n.d). This made the Anti-Federalist who opposed the Constitution very uncomfortable; they feared that a large central government would not be any different than being ruled by a monarchy, their liberties were being threatened and they believed that if the framers really cared about their personal liberties and individual rights they would have been covered in the verbiage of the Constitution. Because of the Anti-Federalist concerns and their disdain for the Constitution the Federalist became concerned about the ratification of the Constitution, due to their concern they agreed to add several amendments known as the Bill of Rights which were written by James Madison. Without the addition of the Bill of Rights the Constitution may not have been ratified.
The Bill of Rights are precious and they have become an ethical code for America, because of these 10 amendments, the United States has always been based largely on the idea that all Americans have various inalienable rights that they are guaranteed and protected from government interference. These are rights that have
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