The called for the 13 British colonies to establish

The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights represented
the first ten amendments in the United States Constitution. It was written by
James Madison and was ratify in December 15, 1791. The context of the Bill of
rights was undeniably influence by the English tradition and also the Colonial
American heritage. Its background could be found in previous English documents
as: Magna Carta (1215), Parliament Petition of Right (1628) and England Bill of
Rights (1689). It was also inspired by Colonial tradition documents as The
Massachusetts Body of Liberties 1641, Pennsylvania Frame of Government 1682.
This English’s documents inspired the essence of the Bill of Rights because
they were legal limitation of the Power of the England Monarchy, and their
purpose was eventually shifting the power of the government toward the
parliament which was elected by people.1The
Colonial heritage also played an important part of helping the development of
the Bill of Rights. The Colonial heritage represented all the laws and codes
established by American’s colonist in order to create a version of country they
wanted to live in. 

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It’s really important to
remember that the American Revolution War was a fight for the rights that Great
Britain denied to their colonists in America. 
The Second Continental Congress met and demonstrated support to Adam’s
petition.  This petition called for the
13 British colonies to establish a new government. 2 In
May 1776, the Congress passed Adam resolution to form state governments.
Immediately, each state proceeded to write its own Constitution. By July 4, 1776
the 13 state declared its independence from Great Britain. From 1776 to 1780 each state began to write
constitutions and bills of rights. Delegates of the Continental Congress established
“The Articles of the Confederation” as plan of government for the United States.
3 These
articles did not define or give power to the federal government.  The federal government was unable to create
new laws or regulate commerce. Under this plan of government the states kept
its sovereignty and the power of make and implement laws. The Articles of the
Confederation transformed the United States into an alliance of 13 foreign
states instead of a unite nation. This weak system led to division between the
states and even rebellions that risk destroying the accomplishment of the
American Revolution.

Delegates James Madison of
Virginia and Hamilton from New York urged Congress to call a Convention of the
delegates of the States, to try to unite and fortify the weak government. The
representatives of the colonies realized that in order to keep the government running
they needed to make reforms that created a stronger federal government. For
this reason twelve of the thirteen colonies agreed to meet in the
Constitutional Convention to draft a Constitution.  Rhode Island was the only state that did not
send any delegates.4

In
1787 representatives of the states met in the Constitutional Convention in
Philadelphia, with the intention of creating a federal constitution for the
United States of America. During this convention Madison was a fearless critic
of the Articles of the Confederation. Madison criticized the articles for
protecting the states and shielded them against any possible intervention the
Federal Government. The states became so powerful that they were even able to
pass laws that violate the basic rights of the people. Madison finally proposed
the Virginia plan as a guideline for the draft of the Constitution. 5

The
first obstacle to get consensus in the Constitutional Convection was the fear
of the States of losing their power to a federal Government. Under the Articles
of the Confederation each state had equal representation. For this reason
“representation of the States” was the first thing that needed to be address to
achieved consent between the states and move forward into the process of
writing the Constitution.

Largest
states supported the Virginia’s plan. According to the Virginia Plan, the
amount of representatives of the states would be proportionally to its
contribution and population. Under this plan largest states would get a largest
representation than the smaller states. The smaller states continually oppose
and propose the New Jersey Plan instead. The New Jersey plan gave every states equal
representation. A consensus about fair representation of the states was needed
to get aboard both larger and smaller states. This was achieved through “The
Great Compromise” or Connecticut Compromise. The Great Compromise was a plan presented
by Anti-Federalist Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth. It proposed a dual
system of representation. In the House of Representative each state would have
a number of seats proportionally to its population, and in the Senate each state
would have the same amounts of seat. 6The
Convention adopted The Great Compromise on July 16, 1787 and move forward into
the writing of the Constitution. After achieving consent, the next major
disagreement for the delegates was the lack of The Bill of Rights in the
Constitution.

            Federalist
thought that the Constitution did not need a Bill of Rights because “kept any
power not given to the federal government”. 7The
Anti-federalist thought that the Bill of rights was essential to protect
individual civil rights. Mason and Elbridge Gerry proposed a preparation of The
Bill of Rights, but the majority of the delegates voted against it. 8Mason,
Gerry and Randolph were the most avid adversaries to the ratification of the
constitution without a Bill of right. James
Madison a federalist delegate for the District of Virginia played a key role in
the ratification of the Constitution.

Madison
was able to created consent between the Federalist and anti-federalist, and
passed the Constitution through the Massachusetts Compromise. The Massachusetts
Compromise was Madison’s commitment to the anti-federalist of including the
Bill of Rights in the Constitution right after its ratification. After three
months of deliberation the Convention concluded with the sign of the new
Constitution under the stipulation that the document would “not be binding”
until it would be ratifying by nine of the thirteen existing states. 9 Hamilton
and Madison in an effort to acquire the votes from the 13 states started
writing 85 essays known as “The Federalist paper”. The Federalist Papers were
personal editorial published nationwide with the purpose of convincing the
people of the needed of the Constitution.10
The Federalist Paper created a great impact in the opinion of the American
people. These publications helped to shift people opinion in favor of the ratification
of the Constitution. It portrayed it as the only way to restrict the federal
power and guarantee people’s rights. The effect of this publication on people was
undeniable, and put a lot of pressure in the delegates which needed to ratify
the constitution as a way to fulfill the desired of the people who elected.
This paper exemplified America freedom of speech and press.

After
the ratification of the Constitution, the Congress set the first federal
election in December 15, 1788. The Federalists won the presidency and the
majority of the Congress. George Washington became the first president of the
United States in 1789.11 The
Congress also got reconstructed according to the Connecticut Comprise to
reflect the system of representation created at the Constitutional Convention.

Most
members of the Virginia legislature disagreed with Madison original position
about how the Bill of Rights was unnecessary. Therefore he did not have a
chance of being consider by Virginia legislative assembly as a candidate for
the office of US Senator. Instead, he decided to run for a position on his
congressional district in the House of Representative. Madison was elected to
serve in the House of Representative. He won this election base in his promised
of promoting the amendment of the Constitution to include the Bill of Right
during the First Federal Congress. Madison became the greatest promoter of the
need of The Bill of Rights and one of the most influential advisers of President
George Washington.12

During
Washington inaugural speech, he addressed the responsibility of the Congress of
exercise the power given by the fifth article in the Constitution. The fifth
Article defined the power of the Congress to amend the Constitution. This
reference was his way of promoting the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the
Constitution. Washington assured that the only responsibility of the government
was to prevent oppression and give liberty to the people.13

The
First Federal Congress met in New York from March 1789 to March 1791. The Congress
consisted in the House of Representative and the United States Senate. Madison
honored his commitment and addressed the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the
First Federal Congress. A Select Committee was appointed with the purpose of address
the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. Federalists
represented the majority of the Congress, and were skeptical about considering
the Bill of Rights as priority. Instead delegate’s main concern was to create
new legislation needed it to set the government in motion.14

Despite
the lack of enthusiasm of the Select Committee, Madison delivered a Speech
proposal of The Bill of Rights in June 8, 1789. Madison was relentless in find
the best way to included the Bill of rights into the Constitution without
jeopardize the original document. The inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the
Constitution would be the greatest guarantor of the rights that American wanted
to achieve during the American Revolution. During Madison’s speech, he explained
his exchange of letters with Jefferson. This letters were a debate over what would
become the Bill of Rights. This exchange compile two major reason for the
promptly inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. First, it would
honor the Massachusetts Compromise. Second, it would limit the Anti-Federalists’
possibility of calling for a Second Congress to abolish the Constitution.

Madison
explained Jefferson reservation about how endorsing the Constitution without a
bill of rights would affect the “sense of America”. 15 Madison
greatest concern about the Bill of Rights was enumerating people’s right. Madison
solved this problem by adding the ninth amendment. The ninth amendment said
that the enumeration “of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or
disparage others retained by the people”. 14 This amendment came out of Madison head. There
is no background document in history about its context.

Finally,
he presented “The First Madison List”. Madison List was a compilation of 39
rights. It’s a compilation of the main concerns about liberties discussed
during the ratification campaign. This list was inspired by three documents,
The Virginia Declaration of Rights written by George Mason, Jefferson’s
Declaration of Independence, and the exchange of letters between Madison and
Jefferson from August 1788 – March 1789.16

Madison
was convinced that the Founding of the nation would never be complete unless
the civil rights of the people were included in the Constitution. Madison never
gave up and overlooked the critics of the member of the House of
Representatives. He kept pushing toward the pass of the Bill of Rights. Finally,
The House of Representative agreed in 17 amendments in the List. Then, Roger
Sherman took the stand in front of the Committee, and objected Madison proposal
of adding the rights as articles into the constitution. Roger Sherman convinced
the Committee that any change in the frame of the Constitution would be disrespectful
to the work of the Founding Father. Finally the Committee agreed to pass 17
articles that should only be included as amendment at the end of the
Constitution.17
In August 24 1789, the House of Representatives passed 17 Amendments out of the
39 contained in Madison first list. 

The
House of the Representative’s version of the Bill of Rights was passed to the
Senate for approval. The Senate was concerned about the way the religious
clause was written. Also was determined to get rid of the restraint of the
states. The Senate consolidated some of the rights together. Finally, the
Senate approved a version in which The Bill of Rights would have 12 amendments.
At this moment, A Conference Committee was created to solve the discrepancy
between the two versions of the Bill of Rights created by the Congress. The
Conference committee was form by three members of the House and three Senators.
The House of representative selected Madison, Vining and Sherman. The Senate
appointed Patterson, Ellsworth and Carroll. 18Four
out of the six member of this committee were framers of the Constitution. The
negotiation of the Committee concluded when The House of Representative agreed
with the reduction of the amendments from 17 to 12. And the Senate agreed to
give concessions on the writing of the religion and criminal clauses to the
House of Representative.

Finally
a compilation of 12 amendments were passed to the States Legislatures by order
of President Washington. This proposal was send to all 13th states,
even the ones that did not ratify the Constitution, like Rhode Island and North
Carolina. This proposal was also sent to the new ratify state of Vermont. After
months of deliberation, the states only agree in 10 out of the 12 original
amendments. Finally, in December 15 1791, the Secretary of State Thomas
Jefferson ratified the Bill of rights after reaching three-fourths of the
states legislature.

Madison
has been considered the father of the Bill of Rights, despite its original position
against its needed at the beginning of the Constitutional Convention. He shifted
its position when he realized that its inclusion was essential to guarantee
American civil rights. Therefore, he played an undeniable role as a framer of
the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He understood that the only path to build
a great nation was to fulfilled citizen expectations of freedom and liberty. 19

The
Bill of Rights consolidates all the civil rights that Americans fervently want to
accomplish with the American Revolution. The Bill of Rights reassured that the
Constitution would enforce the protection of the civil rights, liberties, and freedom.
It would also prevent that the federal government turn into tyranny. 20 Today,
the Bill of Rights is a symbol of civil liberties and a major element in the
Constitutional Law. Its ratification was possible through many compromises that
unite the political parties in order to build a stronger country. It was a
process of political exchanges that required sacrifices and compromise to
achieve a fair Constitution that defines the values of the American people. The
Bill of Rights contains the essence of what means to be an American. It should
be considered one of the greatest achievements in American History.21

The
Bill of rights contented 10 articles with peoples’ rights and liberties. It
appears at the end of the Constitution as amendment. The first article
guarantees the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. The
second is the right to bear arms. The third article gave us the right of No
quartering of soldiers the fourth guarantees our freedom from unreasonable
searches and seizures. The fifth is the right to due process of law. The sixth is
the right of accused persons, right to a speedy and public trial. The seventh
article is the right of trial by jury in civil cases. The eighth article is freedom
from excessive bail and cruel punishment. The ninth article implies other
rights of the people. The tenth article is powers reserved to the states.22

            After my research I concluded that The Bill of Rights fit
perfectly in this year NHD theme “Conflict and Compromise in History”. The background
of the need of The Bill of Rights lies in the struggles that lead American
settlements to the American Revolution.  The
ratification of the Bill of Rights came after years of compromise between the
states.  There were many compromises
needed to accomplish a Constitution with a Bill of Rights. The Connecticut
Compromise or The Great Compromise, the Massachusetts Compromise and then the
hard worked between the legislative branches to create a final draft of the
Bill of Rights that was ratify by the States.

1 www.teachingamericanhistory.org. Ashbrook Center, 2006,
teachingamericanhistory.org/bor/roots-chart/

2 Patrick, John J. The Bill
of Rigths: A History in Documents. E-book, New York, Oxford University Press,
Inc, 2003.

3 Nardo, Don. The Bill of
Rights. 1998 ed., California, Greenhaven Press Inc, 1998

4 www.teachingamericanhistory.org. Ashbrook Center, 2006,
teachingamericanhistory.org/bor/roots-chart

5 Patrick, John J. The
Bill of Rigths: A History in Documents. E-book, New York, Oxford University
Press, Inc, 2003.

6 Nardo, Don. The Bill of
Rights. 1998 ed., California, Greenhaven Press Inc, 1998.

7 Patrick, John J. The
Bill of Rigths: A History in Documents. E-book, New York, Oxford University
Press, Inc, 2003.

8 Gilmore, Jodie. “Father of
the Bill of Rights.” New American, vol. 21, no. 16, 8 Aug. 20045, p. 35.
eLibrary Curriculum

9 www.teachingamericanhistory.org. Ashbrook Center, 2006,
teachingamericanhistory.org/bor/roots-chart.

10 Rakove, Jack, PHD, and
Bernard Bailyn, PHD. “INTELECOM History Video Collection Clip Number:
 INT_FFD_03K_008.” https://www.intelecomonline.net, 2002

11 Patrick, John J. The
Bill of Rigths: A History in Documents. E-book, New York, Oxford University
Press, Inc, 2003.

12 Patrick, John J. E-mail interview.
15 Oct. 2017.

13 Thompson, Mary V.
“”Among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights’: George
Washington and Religious Liberty.” Magazine of  History, vol. 22, no. 1, 2008, p. 49.
eLibrary Curriculum Edition.

14 Rakove, Jack, PHD, and
Bernard Bailyn, PHD. “INTELECOM History Video Collection Clip Number:
 INT_FFD_03K_008.” https://www.intelecomonline.net, 2002

15 The Avalon Project
 Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Yale Law School – Lillian Golden Law
library, 2008, library.law.yale.edu/. Accessed 29 Oct. 2017.

16 Bowman, Sis. “Constitution
Day comes and goes with little notice.” Coshocton Tribune Ohio, 17 Sept. 2017. eLibrary Elementary

17 www.teachingamericanhistory.org. Ashbrook Center, 2006,
teachingamericanhistory.org/bor/roots-chart/.

18 www.teachingamericanhistory.org. Ashbrook Center, 2006,
teachingamericanhistory.org/bor/roots-chart/.

19 Lloyd, Gordon. Telephone
interview. 18 Oct. 2017

20 Patrick, John J. The
Bill of Rigths: A History in Documents. E-book, New York, Oxford University
Press, Inc, 2003.

21 Obamma, Barack, President. “Fact Sheets and Briefings / FIND.
Presidential Proclamation — Bill of Rights Day, 2011

22 The Avalon Project  Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Yale Law School – Lillian
Golden Law library, 2008,