Anti-Federalism Inthe second year of the American Revolutionary Warthe Virginia colonial legislature passed a Declaration of Rights that included the sentence "The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments.
Declaration of Rights, Art. As eminent judges during the early decades of the Republic, both Story and Kent were more familiar with the constitutional controversies of the first five presidential administrations than any judge or professor of law near the close of the twentieth century can hope to be.
The comments on the Bill of Rights that follow are based on such sources of information, and also on the books, letters, and journals of political leaders and judges from to It should be noted, moreover, that the Northwest Ordinance of also sheds light on the ideas and ideals of the generation that drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Passed by the Continental Congress on July 13,while the Federal Convention was meeting in Philadelphia, the Northwest Ordinance was later affirmed by the first Congress under the new Constitution.
Its purpose was to provide a frame of government for the western territories that later became the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The wording of the Thirteenth Amendment providing for the abolition of slavery in the United States was taken directly from the Northwest Ordinance.
Actually, the phrase occurs in a letter from Thomas Jefferson, as a candidate for office, to an assembly of Baptists in Connecticut.
It was also intended, however, to assure each State that its reserved powers included the power to decide for itself, under its own constitution or bill of rights, what kind of relationship it wanted with religious denominations in the State.
Representative Ames, from Massachusetts, was a Federalist. In his own State, and also in Connecticut, there still was an established church—the Congregational Church.
Such a church was entitled to certain taxes, called tithes, that were collected from the public by the State. Now, if Congress had established a national church—and many countries, in the eighteenth century, had official national churches—probably it would have chosen to establish the Episcopal Church, related to the Church of England.
For Episcopalians constituted the most numerous and influential Christian denomination in the United States. Had the Episcopal Church been so established nationally, the Congregational Church would have been disestablished in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Therefore, Fisher Ames and his Massachusetts constituents in were eager for a constitutional amendment that would not permit Congress to establish any national church or disestablish any State church. Madison believed that for the Federal government to establish one church—the Episcopal Church, say—would vex the numerous Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker, and other religious denominations.
After all, it seemed hard enough to hold the United States together in those first months of the Constitution without stirring up religious controversies.
So Madison, who was generally in favor of religious toleration, strongly advocated an Establishment Clause on the ground that it would avert disunity in the Republic. In short, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was not intended as a declaration of governmental hostility toward religion, or even of governmental neutrality in the debate between believers and non-believers.
It was simply a device for keeping religious passions out of American politics. During the nineteenth century, at least, State governments would have been free to establish State churches, had they desired to do so.
The Establishment Clause restrained only Congress—not State legislatures. But the States were no more interested in establishing a particular church than was Congress, and the two New England States where Congregationalism was established eventually gave up their establishments—Connecticut inMassachusetts in The remainder of the First Amendment is a guarantee of reasonable freedom of speech, publication, assembly, and petition.
For what the Congress had in mind, inwas the civil freedom to which Americans already were accustomed, and which they had inherited from Britain. The courts today give a much broader interpretation to the clause.
Civil liberty as understood in the Constitution is ordered liberty, not license to indulge every impulse and certainly not license to overthrow the Constitution itself.
For example, public assemblies can be forbidden or dispersed by local authorities when crowds threaten to turn into violent mobs. And even public petitions to the legislative or the executive branch of government must be presented in accordance with certain rules, or else they may be lawfully rejected.
The original, and in many ways the most important, purpose of freedom of speech and press is that it affords citizens an opportunity to criticize government—favorably and unfavorably—and to hold public officials accountable for their actions. It thus serves to keep the public informed and encourages the free exchange of ideas.
The Right to Bear Arms This amendment consists of a single sentence: The phrasing of the Amendment was directly influenced by the American Revolutionary experience.An amendment is a change or addition to the Constitution. The first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution are called the Bill of schwenkreis.com Bill of Rights was ratified in , only a short time after the Constitution was first ratified.
The first ten amendments were proposed by Congress in , at their first session; and, having received the ratification of the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, they became a part of the Constitution December 15, , and are known as the Bill of Rights. Bill of Rights The following is a transcription of the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution.
Called the "Bill of Rights", these amendments were ratified on December 15, The first ten amendments are special. They are called the Bill of Rights. The Framers worked for four months over the course of a hot summer in Philadelphia to craft the Constitution. The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are also frequently called the Bill of Rights, and they set out a variety of freedoms that citizens and residents of the United States enjoy.
The ten Amendments that were originally placed into the Constitution were ratified in through the process of state voting and ratifying them one by one using a three-fourths majority vote of all the states.