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Bill Of Rights Essay

1724 words - 7 pages

The “Bill of rights” had been proposed as a follow up to Parliament’s original Habeas Corpus bill, which safeguarded personal freedom and liberty. Now just about every colony had a bill of rights, so James Madison suggested that if the United States was to survived as a a country it would need to have a set of rules versus thirtheen and every state would have the same rules.
In 1789, James Madison proposed a series of legislative articles to the first United States congress, but the processes took a while; Madison proposed twelve but only ten became known as the “Bill of Rights” in December 15, 1791.
Brant gives a summary of how these amendments proposed by James Madison, would be added quickly to the Constitution:
The first ten amendments were added to the Constitution of the United States in a period of uneasy calm. The Americans who were most apprehensive over that untried document, because its guarantees of liberty did not go far enough, included a great many who wanted to cut down its grants of legislative and executive power. But the amendments were drafted and submitted to the nation by men who supported both the substantive powers of the new government and the protection of civil rights and liberties. If some of them had little zest for the amendments they voted for, they at least recognized the force of the popular demand and joined in satisfying it. The major task of Madison and his congressional associates was to place the amending of the Constitution high on the House of Representatives agenda, ahead of important bills that were to fill out the structure of government. With that achieved, the amendments submitted by Madison were taken up,debated and perfected with scarce a single move to weaken them. (Brant 223).
It is worth noting at the outset that government of Great Britain—whose North American colonies would eventually revolt to form the United States—already had an act of Parliament which was known as the “Bill of Rights.” Levy compares the U.S. Bill of Rights with its earlier analogue, noting that even in the colonial period
Americans had progressed far beyond the English in securing their rights….The English “Bill of Rights,” its exalted name notwithstanding, had a narrow range of protections, including the freedom of petition, free speech for members of Parliament, and, in language closely followed by the American Eighth Amendment, bans on excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments. As an antecedent of the American Bill of Rights, the English one was a skimpy affair, though important as a symbol of the rule of law and of fundamental law. (Levy 5).

But it is important to realize the the English “Bill of Rights” had been proposed as a sort of follow-up to Parliament’s original Habeas Corpus bill, which safeguarded personal freedom and liberty. Although Habeas Corpus still serves as the legal bedrock of the freedom but left to one's judgment or choice in the lives of individuals by the...

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