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The Bill of Right: Protection Citizens from the Excessive Power of Government

The Bill of Rights was created by James Madison and was ratified in 1791. The Constitution has a Bill of Rights for the sole purpose of protecting all citizens from the excessive power of government. The first ten amendments in the Constitution are considered to be the Bill of Rights.

People were granted their freedoms from the first amendment, which were the freedoms of religion, speech, petition, assembly and press. This amendment is known to be the most important in the Bill of Rights, because it states all basic protection of liberties.

The inclusion of a Bill of Rights changes the way in which people see the Constitution, because it clarifies the country’s political system, rights and where power belongs. The presence of the Bill of Rights brought upon a certain level of focus to both the national government and citizens. Depending on the experience that each individual citizen has with the same laws that have been around for many years, opinions are created in regard to the idea of adding the Bill of Rights.

In addition, the Constitution has become valuable in the United States of America. Conflict and compromise were huge in creating and signing it. This new document created disputes during the Constitutional Convention between delegates in terms of having a strong national government and including the Bill of Rights in the document. The Bill of Rights was a specific issue that the anti-federalists were for, but the federalists were not. Federalists believed adding a Bill of Rights was unnecessary, because people were going to keep the power that was not given to the federal government, whereas anti-federalists thought it was needed in order to keep individual rights and liberties protected.

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According an Old Whig V, “What has happened in other countries and in other ages, may very possibly happen again in our country, and for aught we know, before the present generation quits the stage of life (Storing, 1981, p. 35).” Anti-federalists believed that without a Bill of Rights added to the Constitution, the national government would become entirely oppressive under a ruler. Citizens would not have specific civil liberties protected if that happened. They wanted the assurance that if government power changed than those liberties would remain. No government or ruler should have power over the liberty of conscience of humankind.

On the other hand, Federalists published “Federalist Papers” as a way to address and explain their views on the Constitution. Federalist number 84 explains the objections that the Constitution had yet to include. It stated, “I go further, and affirm that bill of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous (Dunne, 1901, p. 156).” Hamilton believed the Bill of Rights would add on to the existence of government power and that citizens would receive implied power not even listed on the document. He believed that the Constitution was already assuring the separation between government and the rights of individuals, but it was not cleared out completely. This was unnecessary and dangerous to Federalists since they believed the Constitution was already a Bill of Rights. The document had already been rejected by the Constitutional Convention because of Hamilton’s view. Hamilton was viewing it as the inclusion of a dangerous expansion within power in the national government.

Those who sided with Hamilton were ones to follow his statement of aphorism. This addressed the opinion that the Constitution should only be fixed only if it is broken. In regard to an Old Whig V, “Without a bill of rights we are totally insecure in all of them; and no man can promise himself with any degree of certainty that his posterity will enjoy the inestimable blessings of liberty of conscience, of freedom of speech and of writing and publishing their thoughts on public matters (Storing, 1981, p. 36).” A major concern was the necessity of a strong judicial branch. In order for an individual to feel protected under the Constitution, all details were to be made clear with no sense of confusion, because this would create limits for the national government. Anti-federalists expressed the importance of having a document that secures the rights of citizens. Knowing that not every human right would be able to be listed, created doubt in some delegates. Individuals should feel protected in whatever they please to do and never have to surrender to any form of government. It initiated worries about the role of the president and how he would become king and rule all states under one government. Having a monarchy could potentially limit the power of states or remove it. Anti-federalists acknowledged the fact that if the Constitution was left untouched, then citizens would face unwanted adjustments in the new political system. Some were concerned about the unreasonable share of national taxes they would have to pay.

Nevertheless, “The truth is, after all the declamations we have heard, that the Constitution is itself, in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS. The several bills of rights in Great Britain form its Constitution, and conversely the constitution of each state is its bill of rights (Dunne, 1901, p. 157).” Unlike the opposing views of the Anti-federalists, the Constitution was seen as a document in which influenced general government policy and law. Federalists were in support of the document and the distinction impact it caused between State Constitutions. Each State had their own detailed document that specified their limited powers within their state, whereas the Constitution had to go through a long process before even adding or changing any part of it. States had unlimited power to regulate matters regardless if they were personal or private. All power not given to the national government was kept by either the states or the people, because of the Constitution guidelines. Adding the Bill of Rights was not a good idea to Hamilton, because it could have potentially caused individual rights and liberties to be omitted and not kept.

Furthermore, the Federalists and Anti-federalists had opposing views on the Bill of Rights and the new Constitution. Federalist paper number 84 was focused more on the remaining objections in the Constitution and liberties of mankind pertained to liberty of the press, whereas an Old Whig V specifies two arguments in regard to the lack of protection in individual rights and the fear of a new government system that would retain the first amendment from citizens. An Old Whig V expressed the issues pertained to the liberty of conscience more than the federalists did, because they felt that without the Bill of Rights, the government would become excessive and devalue the rights and liberties of citizens. The federalists shared their views on wanting a strong federal government. The Anti-federalists did not want the government to take over states and citizens. They felt that states had the right to make their own laws. They believed the Constitution was unfair in terms of giving Congress and the president too much power.

Moreover, I believe the reason the Federalist authors of the Constitution finally agreed to creating the Bill of Rights was to please everyone. Eventually, the Federalists probably realized the Bill of Rights could have some potential in helping future cases pertained to the law and individual rights. It creates human guidelines that citizens are to follow. The United States government would fail to notice an important detail without the Bill of Rights being a part of the Constitution. I think the including of the Bill of Rights was a good idea, because today many people are aware of their individual rights and liberties in the United States and are able to spread awareness on unjust cases. The Bill of Rights is still controversial today. There is a major influence on the law, because of the Bill of Rights. If it did not exist today, people would probably be fighting for their individual liberties until noticed or there would not be a sense of democracy.

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The Bill of Right: Protection Citizens from the Excessive Power of Government. (2021, Mar 09). Retrieved from

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