Sample History Essay on Bill of Rights and Amendment

Bill of Rights and Amendment

It is quite unthinkable to survive without rights, especially in a democratic country. The Bill of Rights allows citizens to raise their complaints to the government, and to exercise their freedom without fear of reprisal. The Bill of Rights is catered for in the Constitution, but it is not explicitly expressed in the Constitution. An amendment is usually made on the Bill of Rights, or any other law, as indicated in the Constitution. In the US, the Bill of Rights became one of the initial amendments made in the country’s Constitution. It was through amendment that the Bill of Rights came into operation.

The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights involves a formal declaration that consist of legal rights, as well as civil rights that citizens of any country should have. The main purpose of having the Bill of Rights is to safeguard citizens’ rights from being breached. The Bill of Rights highlights the country’s most essential rights and freedom, in addition to offering power to citizens to ensure that their freedom is not ignored. When American Constitution was being drafted, the drafters did not find the reason to include the Bill of Rights , as they claimed that rights are unchallengeable, meaning that they are of divine origin, and could not be granted upon to people simply by a document (Gilmore, 2005, p. 37). However, their arguments were dismissed through the ninth amendment.

The Bill of Rights emerged to set some measures to Anti-Federalist opposition, which could inhibit constitution endorsement. Although the Bill of Rights restricts Congress from interfering with people’s freedom, it does not transfer the power from legislatures to the courts (Macklem, 2006, p. 108). However, constitutional courts have the mandate to evaluate whether Congress has contributed in infringing freedom of expression.

Amendment

An amendment is simply a modification that is carried out in the Constitution of a country. In most countries, amendment to the Constitution cannot be enacted until a particular procedure beyond ordinary legislation is carried out. The first ten amendments, which were proposed to the Constitution by Congress, came to be known as the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment that was carried out in the American Constitution prohibited legislature from making any law that guides on freedom.  According to Spotzer and Walker (2002), the First Amendment was meant to protect the right to freedom of speech (p. 3). The amendment necessitates Americans to worship freely, to complain to the government, and to assemble peacefully.

Some of the amendments permit citizens to protect themselves without necessarily relying on the government for protection. The Second Amendment allows individuals to possess arms for self-defense, but does not apply to corporations that offer services to gun owners (Kopel, 2014, p. 230). Amending the country’s Constitution enables citizens to enjoy more rights than they are already provided for in the Constitution. It is the best platform to correct mistakes that were made when drafting the Constitution.

The Difference between Bill of Rights and Amendment

The Bill of Rights was incorporated in the American Constitution since independence, but several amendments were made later to enhance citizens’ freedom. The Bill of Rights has to remain the same (the first ten amendments) while other amendments can be made at any time following the appropriate methods, such as enactment of the law, or a referendum. No information exists to prove that the Bill of Rights stands to be amended. The Supreme Court has the mandate to interpret the Bill of Rights in case of any misunderstandings. For example, in the case involving Barron v. Baltimore, Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the private property should not be taken for public use without the state compensating the owners under Fifth Amendment (Stephen & Scheb, 2008, p. 22). Supreme Court does not necessarily interpret other amendmen

References

Gilmore, J. (2005, Aug 08). The genius of the bill of rights. The New American, 21, 37. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/218092376?accountid=1611

Kopel. D.B. (April 2014). Does the Second Amendment Protect Firearms Commerce? Selected Works. Retrieved on 20 August from http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1066&context=david_kopel

Macklem, T. (2006). Entrenching Bills of Rights. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 26(1), 107-129. doi:10.1093/ojls/gqi046

Spotzer, I., & Walker, A. (2002). First amendment rights: Freedom to speak; freedom not to speak. Managerial Law, 44(5), 3-12. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/196367260?accountid=1611

Stephens, O. H., & Scheb, J. M. (2008). American constitutional law volume II: Civil rights and liberties. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

 

 

 

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