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The Bill of Rights

February 12, 2016 Hastings and Hastings

Did you know that as it was originally conceived the Bill of Rights actually had 17 amendments? It’s true! Imagine how different life may be today if these seven extra amendments had become part of our life. Maybe, we should back up a bit. Did you know that the Bill of Rights was not originally part of our Constitution? It was added several years later and its inclusion was hotly debated. In our blog today we are going to learn about how the Bill of Rights was added to the American Constitution.

The Bill of Rights was born out of a conflict between the two major political parties that were around in the late 1700’s, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. A very neat distinction, isn’t it? The Federalists argued against the addition of the Bill of Rights to the American Constitution. They believed that any power not directly given to the federal government was given to the states and the people by default. They did not believe protection needed to be established through federal law. The Federalist Party believed that it was important to have a strong federal government and they saw the Bill of Rights as a document that would weaken it.

Predictably, the Anti-Federalist stood on the other side of this argument. They feared a world in which the federal government held too much power. They thought that the creation of the Bill of Rights was a necessary step for the protection of the rights of the states and individual people. In the end, James Madison wrote what he intended to be changes to the American Constitution. However, congress ruled that the Constitution could not be changed, but they would allow additions, or amendments. Thus the Bill of Rights was born and the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America were created.