Constitution Controversy And The Bill Of Rights Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Government, Bill Of Rights, Constitution, Law, Politics, United States, Inclusion, Public

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/11/08


Over the years, the incorporation of the Bill of Rights in the USA constitution has often been litigated in the federal courts. It is in reference to Amendments 1-10 of the U.S. National Constitution. Most supporters of the inclusion argued that the Bill of Rights protects the public against violations of rights by the federal government. Another argument that needed to be settled was if the Bill of rights was to be included in the National Constitution, will it apply to the federal government only or will it also apply to the states? For example, the Fourth Amendment states that in part that the right of the citizens to be protected from themselves, their houses, and effects, in contradiction of irrational explorations and confiscations, shall not be violated. This amendment would need clarification whether it only applied to federal officials such as the FBI agents or it also applied to state and local officials such as the police officers.
The ratification of the United States’ constitution was marked with controversy concerning the inclusion of the Bill of Rights. The Federalists argued against the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution (Dumbauld 4). Alexander Hamilton opposed the inclusion in the Federal Constitution by stating that the constitutions of a number of the States do not have a clause in the Bill of Rights. Alexander Hamilton suggested that New York, being one of the States whose constitution does not have the Bill of Rights has had good governance and no abuse of Human Rights. He further added that those proposing the inclusion of the Bill or Rights in the National Constitution have made an admiration for the Constitution of States such as New York; for this reason they were prejudiced over the issue. However, the Anti-Federalists argued that it was of great significance to have a Bill of Rights Clause in the Constitution.

Bill of Rights in the U.S Constitution Inclusion

The Bill of Right clause was included in the United States Constitution in order to address worries expressed by the Anti-Federalists concerning abuse of powers by the government. James Madison thought lack of the inclusion of the Bill of Rights would result in violation of individual rights by the federal government. It was of great significance, for this reason, to include the Bill of Rights in the Constitution because it ensured that the federal government and State government actions are put in check. The Bill of Rights assisted in the protection of the destitute public from the powerful force of the government since the clause provided how the state should interact with its citizens. According to James Madison, the Bill of Rights could act as a vehicle to be used to rally the citizens against forthcoming domineering governments (Dumbauld 6). It means that, even though, the Bill of Right seemed unnecessary at that point, it could be of great significance in the future when the country may be ruled by an oppressive government. The declaration of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution also helped in putting the judicial system as the protector of individual rights against other powers and the government.
Inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution facilitated citizen participation in government policies since their rights were expressed in the constitutions. By the inclusion, the citizens were able to define the relationship between the governments and public clearly. Citizens were able to identify the limitations of government actions relative to its citizens concerning the government public relation, thus more informed of the government duties to its citizens. Though early amendments and ratification were marked with confusion whether it applies to the federal government or States, the Constitution has played a significant role in controlling both the federal and State governments’ actions.

Background of the Inclusion Controversy

The Bill of Rights contains the most significant protection to a defendant in the United States. The ten modifications of the United States Constitution of the year 1791 were ratified as a group and made a part of the National Constitution. Initially, the Bill of Rights was viewed as only limiting the acts of federal officers because the Constitution itself in the period of its passage only limited the powers of the federal government and not the states. The States and the local officers were originally limited by the provisions of their state constitutions, state laws, and local ordinances only.
The Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 sparked the Inclusion of the Bill of Rights by declaring that no State shall make or impose any law that shall abridge the privileges or immunities of United States citizens (Teaching American History 6). The statement continued to assert that States should also not deny any person the right to live, liberty, or property, without due process of the law. The clause incorporated most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights binding the federal government and state governments.

The Federalist and Anti-Federalist Argument

The federalist viewed the concept of a Bill of Rights clause as a British Monarchy ideology since the concept originated with the Coronation Charter of King Henry the first in AD 1100. The federalist also argued that the government’s powers were well checked and adopted the Bill of Rights will imply they were unlimited (Hamilton 4). Alexander Hamilton opposed the inclusion by stating that the Bill of Rights was unnecessary and would dangerously affect the government. Despite the reasons against the inclusion, the Constitution was ratified after some amendments and rejection of some proposed Bill of Rights. Some of the Federalist decided to support the ratification because of the future changes in governance and public pressure. The Federalist authors could have also agreed to adopt the Bill of Rights because it sounded logically correct to support what the public demands. The federalist could have also ratified the constitution after amending the necessary Bills and rejecting the unnecessary or those that could have undermined the government to a great extent.
Inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution sounded unnecessarily at its initial stages of introduction because the government was not abusing or did not intend to abuse individual rights. However, it was important to include the Bill of Rights in the Constitution because lack of disclosure would mean unchecked powers of the government. The necessity of inclusion would also increase since the government could decide to oppress the citizens through coerced recruitment into the army or high taxes without considering their wellbeing. The Bill of Rights ensured public participation in government decision-making because they had to ensure every government action is constitutional and does not breach the rights of an individual.
Presently, the Bill of Rights has facilitated solve and prevent various government actions that might have stepped on individual rights. The Bill of rights has been widely accepted by various States as a clause or an act, confirming its appreciation by the States. Various countries of the world have also included the Bill of Rights in their constitution after establishing its significance in the United States’ constitution.
In case the Federalists had not agreed to include the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, the government could have been more powerful since the scope of its powers relating to the public could not have been defined. By, not adopting the Bill of Rights, the federal courts could enforce cases involving abuse of human rights or public oppression. The inclusion of the Bill of rights ensures that the government’s actions considered the rights of the public.
Periodically, people have expressed fears that a constitutional convention might revise the constitution in a way that would weaken the Bill of rights. However, a number of important amendments have significantly expanded individual rights and provided for greater democracy.


Jointly, the first ten modifications to the United States Constitution are designated the Bill of Rights. These amendments are among the most acclaimed in the entire document. The subject of such a bill received little attention at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (Hamilton 2). A debate proposing the Bill of Rights was, however, stirred-up near the end of the convention when George Mason proposed a motion for such a bill. The absence of such a bill became one of the rallying points for the Anti-Federalists opposed to the new constitution.
Currently, the Bill of Rights has been widely accepted by both the government and the public. The Bill plays an important role in dictating the limits of government power in relation to the public and informing the public of its rights in relation to the government. The adoption of the Bill of Rights also gives the federal judicial system powers to interpret and safeguard the individual rights.

Works Cited

Dumbauld, Ellen. The Bill of Rights and What it means today. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001. Print.
Hamilton Alexander. Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Consideration and Answered: Independent Journal. Wed. 16 Jul. 1788. 10 Feb. 2015. Press-pubs. Bill of rights. 2000. 10 Feb. 2015.
Teaching American History. An Old Whig V. 1787. Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, 1 Nov. 1787. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

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