Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:56 am
The first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution are called the "Bill of Rights."
The Bill of Rights was ratified as part of a gentlemen's agreement among our Founding Fathers. There was resistance to the approval of the United States Constitution by Thomas Jefferson and the AntiFederalists because too much power was given to the Federal Government, and American citizens were unprotected. To protect the rights of individual citizens, George Mason had composed the Declaration of Rights, which was passed by the Virginia assembly on June 12, 1776. James Madison of Virginia submitted amendments to the Constitution on June 8, 1789. The Federalists kept their word and on September 25, 1789, the First Federal Congress of the United States approved twelve amendments to the Constitution to be submitted to the states for ratification. The Preamble of the Bill clearly states the Bill of Rights is to prevent abuse of the powers of the Government. By December 15, 1791, all the states ratified ten amendments which became known as the U. S. Bill of Rights to protect the individual rights of American citizens.
It would take the 1861-1865 Civil War and the religious civil rights movement of the 1960s to fully effect our Christian culture. Abraham Lincoln held to the literal reading of the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal. As expressed in his 1863 Gettysburg Address during the Civil War, this Nation under God brought forth a new birth of freedom, as evidenced by the passage of Amendments 13-15 following the War. The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution is considered the most significant since the Bill of Rights. Originally the Bill of Rights was a set of restrictions on the powers of the Federal Government, but not the States. Over time, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment to apply most of the guarantees of the Bill of Rights to the States as well as the Federal Government. The Bill of Rights gradually has become available to all American citizens, for it provided equal protection to everyone, and limited the power of the States to deny life, liberty, or property without due process of the law. This is reflected in our Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, "one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION
The Declaration of Independence established the core principles of our Nation, the United States of America. Our Constitution with the Amendments provide a rule of law for an actual government to accomplish those principles. The Bill of Rights protects the individual rights of American citizens.
The Bill of Rights reflects the Christian heritage of our nation. The idea of human dignity, that we are created in the image of God, forms the theological basis for human equality and our core principle of liberty (Genesis 1:27, Leviticus 25:10, Matthew 25:40, Mark 12:31). The fundamental basis of religious freedom in human nature secures our rights and limits government. There is a higher authority than civil authority, the laws of God (Acts 5:29). The Declaration of Independence recognizes God, the Creator, that there is a Supreme Judge - Divine Providence, from whom we receive certain inalienable rights, that of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The moral teachings of the Bible establish the common standards of right and wrong required in ourselves and in government to guide private and public life. The rights and responsibilities of citizenship are learned in the primary institutions of civil society - the family, church, and the community - to teach virtue, shape character, and form productive and upright individuals.
Our founding fathers were also greatly influenced by the philosophers John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu. John Locke (1632–1704) of England wrote in his Two Treatises on Government of 1690: "God, as King David says (Psalm 115:16), has given the earth to the children of men, given it to mankind in common" (II, 5). Locke argued that people were born with certain natural rights to life, liberty, and property, and that governments are formed to protect the rights of the people. When governments fail to protect these rights, tyranny results, and the people have the right to rebel. The political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) of France in The Spirit of the Laws in 1748 proposed the best form of government would incorporate a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches and would be based on the natural law. Both of their ideas were evident in all three of our Founding Documents - the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
In its struggle for Liberty, the Second Continental Congress saw the need for a Confederacy of the States and established a central authority known as the Articles of Confederation, which was drafted on November 15, 1777, and was not ratified by all the States until March 1, 1781. The Continental Congress was careful to preserve the independence, rights, and privileges of the States, but proved ineffective. The Congress of the Confederation operated the U. S. government from March 1, 1781 until March 4, 1789.
The U. S. Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 17, 1787. Ratification was completed by June 21, 1788, and the Constitution went into effect March 4, 1789.
Peace and Love
"Say the Rosary every day...Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for sinners...
I'm Our Lady of the Rosary "...Our Lady at Fatima 1917