Bill of Rights and Amendments Paper

Bill of Rights and Amendments Paper Ephraim Iivula HIS/301 May 22, 2011 Kenneth Johnston University of Phoenix Bill of Rights and Amendments Bill of Rights and Amendments to the Constitution refers to the ensuing changes to the nation’s supreme document after its preliminary ratification. At first the founders conceded the initial 10 Amendments known as the Bill of Rights at the same time. In an attempt to tackle envisaged challenges and perfect the union, the founding fathers made enhancements to the early Constitution.

As part of the national effort, these changes incorporated certain rights that the founders thought as eminent in advancing liberty and good governance. Notably, Bill of Rights include such rights as civil rights, the rule of law, fair trial, and all such rights that promote equality. This paper aims to explore how and why Amendments become part of the Constitution, the problems with the original document that motivated the adoption of the Bill of Rights and its effects. In addition, the paper also details the problems with the original document, or changes in society that necessitated later amendments.

Finally, the paper chronicles the thirteenth through fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. How and why Amendments become part of the Constitution As Chief Justice John Marshall, 1821 once said, the people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. The Constitution is the creature of people’s will, and lives only by their aspirations. The Articles of the document adopted at the Philadelphia summer convention of 1787 represents a form of mutual statesmanship and the model of concession.

However, Amendments became perceptible as a handful of states representatives deliberating on the document never refined it so that it covers the imminent need of incoming states. As such, successive changes to represent the broad interests for additional members to the new union become inescapable. Amendments to the document were obligatory as no single state, pointless to cite the seven states that formed the convention quorum could dictate the outline as scores of issues remained unresolved. The decree on the amount of authority by central government, state Congressional quota, and their election process never incorporated rights.

Therefore, to ensure respect of these fundamental rights, they passed Amendments to the Constitution to pave way for the inclusion of these rights. The constitutional inclusion is the only viable option that imposes these rights in all states. Problems with the Original Document that Motivated the Adoption of the Bill of Rights The original document had diverse number of oversights during its inception until the Bill of Rights became part of the final document. “The Bill of Rights is a set of 10 articles amending the original Constitution.

It was authored by James Madison and enacted in the First Congress, which followed shortly after the original Constitution was ratified and the new federal government formed ”Kates, D. B. (2008). The fresh frame of governance as adopted at the convention contained many loopholes and critics feared it made potential room for central government’s abuse of power. Early founders had fresh in their minds the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. For that reason, they demanded bills of rights that spell out the immunities of individual citizens.

This state of affairs left many delegates disappointed particularly George Mason, a legendary voice of early constitutional dissent from Virginia, who had earlier written the Virginia Declaration of Rights. The Archive further reveals that James Madison drafted the Amendments to the Constitution. The paramount authority of the Supreme Court came to exert much influence and effects on the Bill of Rights. This came to the surprise of the founders particularly the Framers, who projected potential weaknesses in the Federal judiciary.

The Supreme Court has come to exercise much power over every state in tackling many upheavals in the entire union. The initial eight Amendments trim the government power by denoting a catalog of citizen rights and liberties. The following amendment advocates that rights besides the enumerated are further prevalent. Amendment 10 ensures that government implements only those powers enshrined by the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 contains provisions of the Bill of Rights that impose restrictions to the state and local governments, which remained critical unless the Constitution went through amendments.

Changes in Society that led to Later Amendments (13 through 15th Amendments) On the 6th of December 1865, Congress finally ratified the amendment abolishing slavery, which the Senate passed earlier in April 1864 at the end of the Civil War. The contemplation to the slavery issues was already in the early Constitution but the words alone never saved the slaves from bondage without Congress ratification. In addition, numerous slave revolts, unrest, and societal displeasure led to the need for a lasting solution for the slave issue.

Occasionally, slaves battled the system with physical conflict until fatality as chronicled in the Nat Turner revolt 1831 in Virginia. Congress passed the 14th Amendment on June 13, 1866, and ratified in July 9, 1868. This passage was necessary as the original document made no provision of citizenship, privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. As a result Congress passed this amendment to ensure that every citizen enjoys protection of life, liberty, or property and any person within its jurisdiction have equal protection of the laws.

This point resolved the state representational quota concern, the election for president and vice-president of the United States, representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state. This amendment further spells out the eligibility of candidature of the members of the legislature and the power of Congress. Another important amendment passed by Congress on February 26, 1869, and ratified February 3rd, 1870 was the right of every citizen to vote. This right to vote is upheld and no state would prevent any citizen from voting on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

This amendment became one of the iconic changes mostly to the citizens without the voting right. The wind of change, enhanced understanding of civil rights, humanity, protest, and civil disobedience paved the way for many of these amendments. The effects of later amendments, particularly the adoption of the 13th amendment is that the country has finally found the lasting solution to her early sin of slavery. The 13th amendment as well as the 14th, and the 15th respectively, form the cornerstone of the Civil War era changes to the founding document that had a profound effect on liberty and civil rights.

Moreover, these classical later Amendments promoted the rule of law and the world’s perception of the United States as bacon of peace, dignity, and prosperity. “Finally, the Constitution provides the president with legislative authority, including use of the veto and the opportunity to recommend proposals to Congress. The Framers expected this authority to be used in a limited way” (Patterson, T, 2009, p. 310). Conclusion The path to civil liberty and Constitutional equality came with many twist and turns.

The founding fathers deliberated on thorny issues under tough circumstances, to make certain that the dream of the union is achieved. The beginning lacked a sufficient quorum of states representatives to advance the important discussion, which nearly hampered the deriberations on drafting and negotiations. Consequently, each single gain made to the early document resulted in more skepticisms or stalemates. The founders nonetheless sailed on with immeasurable courage and determination until the final consensus. Passing Amendments is a difficult process and many proposals fail to reach the ratification stage. The Electoral College is among the most criticized features of the original Constitution and has been the most frequent target of proposed amendments. Yet only once has a proposal to eliminate the Electoral College passed the House–it died in the Senate” (Hendricks, J, 2008, summer). Thus far, enactments of national legislatures receive pretty much the same scrutiny as the founders prescribed, and pass through a complex process of reviews before the executive append the final signature. References Hendricks, J. S. (2008, Summer).

Popular election of the president: Using or abusing the Electoral College? Election Law Journal, 7(3), 218. Kates, D. B. (2008, May). Understanding the second: How the Bill of Rights shaped today’s gun rights debate. Handguns, 22(2), 14. Lillian Goldman Law library : Bill of Rights, Retrieved from http://avalon. law. yale. edu/18th_century/rights1. asp Patterson, T. E. (2009). The American democracy (9th ed. ). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. U. S. National Archives and Records Administration: Bill of Rights, Retrieved from http://www. archives. gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights. html