Defining The Bill Of Rights

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Defining the Bill of Rights and Amendments to the Constitution Originally the Constitutional framers did not include a list of specific liberties. These liberties later would become a Bill of Rights. Many of the founding fathers did not believe it was necessary to spell out these individual liberties because they felt that the U.S. Constitution already made it clear what the limits on the government’s powers were. Soon it would become more evident that the Constitution didn’t go far enough in addressing the issue of national power. As the ratification debates began, numerous issues arose. The framers realized the pressing need for a specific Bill of Rights. Thomas Jefferson was one of the main proponents of a document that spelled out the…show more content…
The framers intended for only the most significant issues of the day to lead to a constitutional amendment. Surprisingly the president and the executive branch have no role in proposal and ratification process. Although, the office still wields some political influence depending upon the issue. (Janda et al., 2012) The Bill of Rights was originally intended to provide protection from the federal government, whom many feared could become too powerful. Late in the 19th century the Supreme Court ruled that these same liberties and rights guaranteed in the constitution also must be applied at the state level as well. Although most Americans are familiar with the names of Jefferson, Franklin and Madison, one of the most important figures of this time was a gentlemen named George Mason. He was one of the first leaders to demand the government recognize such basic rights as freedom of the press, religious tolerance and the right to trial by jury. Mason was highly respected by his peers, but unlike Washington, Jefferson and Madison, he had no desire to hold public office. He did later on serve on various committees and was appointed to draft the Virginia declaration of rights. (Ushistory.org, 2014) Mason took the lead on this project, and basically wrote the document by himself. He drew a lot upon the influence of the philosopher John Locke. One of the main assertions he included in this draft was, “That all men are born equally free and independent, and
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