The U. S. Constitution was written without specific mention of basic human rights. In order to correct this, the Bill of Rights was written. This Bill serves two purposes: to assure and protect the rights of the citizens, and to limit the reach of the government into the lives of the people. For example, the first amendment restricts the government from establishing a national religion; at the same time, it protects the citizens from being forced to conform to a religion which they do not practice. The primary purpose of the Bill, of course, is to describe which rights are afforded to the people, and which are the domain of the government.
When the Bill of Rights was first written and prepared to be approved by the states, there were two amendments that were not ratified. The first described how representatives would be assigned: one representative per thirty thousand people. It isn’t clear why the amendment wasn’t ratified; however, it is possible that the representatives from some states were concerned that if their population did not increase as quickly as that of other states, they would lack the number of representatives that other states were allowed. Today, of course, this is true.
Election coverage focuses on larger states, such as Texas and California, rather than the smaller states with fewer representatives. The 27th amendment, which was only ratified in 1992 by Alabama, described the pay increase for members of Congress. It was partially ratified, but wasn’t ratified by enough states to make it into the Bill of Rights. The amendment determined that a pay raise could not take place unless the pay raise had been voted on. Members of Congress, of course, would not want a vote to determine a pay raise, so it wasn’t ratified for over two hundred years.
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