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After the Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, a majority of the population were of the belief that it did not protect individual rights. The American people feared that having a weak government was just as detrimental as having a strong government that abused the people. Many states were reluctant about the Constitution as it lacked individual rights and lacked the guarantee of personal liberty. Fear continued to escalate among the people as many feared the government would abuse their power unless there was a Bill of Rights.
According to Americans, the highest form of government was the protection of the rights of the people.
Nine states had to approve the Bill of Rights in order for them to be ratified. The states that strongly opposed the Constitution were New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia. The Anti-Federalists were resistant to and radically opposed the Constitution. They believed the government would have too much control over the people, and the Constitution did not protect the individual rights of the people. George Mason, an avid Anti-Federalist, objected to the U.S. Constitution as he did not believe it attended to the rights of every class of people. Anti-Federalists usually consisted of small farmers living in rural areas that were concerned about losing control of their property and individual rights. They believed the government abused their power. At the time of voting, the Anti-Federalists had caps made that had the word ‘liberty’ on them.
The Federalist, much unlike the Anti-Federalist, tried to assure the people the government was their friend.
Alexander Hamilton and James Madison were leading Federalists who desperately tried to persuade the people the Constitution was not their enemy. Hamilton wanted the people to believe there was a perfect balance between liberty and power. The people continued to doubt Hamilton and Madison as their property rights were being abused. To persuade the people, Madison published 85 essays called the Publis, which were written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay to influence the people that the Constitution was all that was needed to protect the people. They were confident these essays would convince the people to agree the government was beneficial. At first, Madison opposed the Bill of Rights but later became the first one to present the Bill of Rights to Congress. The Bill of Rights were approved by nine states. The first amendment to the Bill of Rights remains one of the most quoted as it protects freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
The Bill of Rights added ten amendments to the Constitution. It guarantees and secures individual liberties such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, unreasonable search and seizure of your home and many more. These Bill of Rights have an impact on all of our lives today and protect our individual freedoms.
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