The Ten Amendments as a Declaration of Rights
Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2, 1992
46 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009
Date Written: 1992
In this article, Professor Finkelman discusses the struggle behind the incorporation of the first ten amendments to the United States’ Constitution. While the Constitution was first being drafted, the Federalists strongly opposed the incorporation of a Bill of Rights into the Constitution. The Federalists argued that changing the structure of the Constitution to incorporate a Bill of Rights was unnecessary under a government with limited powers as they would be protected by the individual states and also that a Bill of Rights would weaken the structure of national government. However, during the first session of Congress, it was the Federalists who supported the first ten amendments to the Constitution and the Anti-Federalists who opposed. Ultimately, James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights in a way that he believed would not undermine the Federal structure and simply enumerate points that were widely accepted. Thus, the Bill of Rights was adopted to protect personal liberties and minority rights without making structural changes to the Constitution.
Keywords: Bill of Rights, anti-federalists, James Madison
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