The Bill of Rights Essay

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The Bill of Rights

After the Revolution, the States adopted their own constitutions, many of which contained a Bill of Rights. The Americans still faced the challenge of creating a central government for their new nation. In 1777 the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, which were ratified in 1781. Under the Articles, the states retained their “sovereignty, freedom and independence,” while the national government was kept weak and inferior. Over the next few years it became evident that the system of government that had been chosen was not strong enough to completely settle and defend the frontier, regulating trade, currency and commerce, and organizing thirteen states into one union.

So in the summer of
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For example the First Amendment begins, ”Congress shall make no law...” Madison’s original draft had contained a proposal that would have also prohibited state governments from violating the Bill of Rights, but the Senate deleted it.

It was not until after the Civil War that the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments were enacted and began protecting individuals against the states. The Fourteenth Amendment has been the principal means by which this protection has been accomplished. It reads, in part, “No State shall...deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” The Supreme Court had interpreted this guarantee of liberty to embrace the fundamental liberties in the Bill of Rights, meaning that the state governments must observe and protect them to the same extent as the federal government this is also known called incorporation. The amendments in the Bill of Rights are said to be incorporated against the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. There has been an ongoing debate on the Supreme Court about the extent of incorporation, and whether the entire Bill of Rights, or only some of it’s guarantees, should be incorporated against the states.

The Supreme Court views and attitudes can change over time. First the membership of the court changes when a justice retires or dies, and when the new justice is appointed to fill his position the new justice may not

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