The Bill of Rights: An Introduction.
By Hugh Akston
It is hard to find documentary evidence why some rights are named in the Bill of rights while others are left out I can only address the issue that the federalist and the Anti-federalist argued about in writing; I will not resort to supposition for this series of articles.
While it is clear that the two sides differed about the need for the bill of rights, it is also clear that the Constitution finally included them.
I go further, and affirm, that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done, which there is no power to do?
it is evident that the reason here assigned was not the true one, why the framers of this Constitution omitted a bill of rights; if it had been, they would not have made certain reservations, while they totally omitted others of more importance.
We find they have, in the ninth section of the first article declared, that the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless in cases of rebellion, that no bill of attainder, or ex post facto law, shall be passed, that no title of nobility shall be granted by the United States, etc. If everything which is not given is reserved, what propriety is there in these exceptions? Does this Constitution anywhere grant the power of suspending the habeas corpus, to make ex post facto laws, pass bills of attainder, or grant titles of nobility? It certainly does not in express terms. The only answer that can be given is that these are implied in the general powers granted. With equal truth it may be said, that all the powers which the bills of rights guard against the abuse of, are contained or implied in the general ones granted by this Constitution.
This is in the simple form the basis for the arguments about the bill of Rights.
From the Preamble to the Bill of rights.
THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution
Now we can take a look at the amendments in a clear manner, with the understanding that the purpose was to ensure LIMITS on the federal power, and grant the People protection in their God given rights. We will start with at the beginning with the First Amendment and go through all 10.
Just my thoughts for today.
For The History presented by Patricia Gillenwater click here