The Ten Amendments as a Declaration of Rights

Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2, 1992

46 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009  

Paul Finkelman

University of Pittsburgh, School of Law; Albany Law School - Government Law Center

Date Written: 1992

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Finkelman, Paul, The Ten Amendments as a Declaration of Rights (1992). Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2, 1992. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1426150

Paul Finkelman (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh, School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-2079 (Phone)

Albany Law School - Government Law Center ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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