Sample History Essay Paper on The Bill Of Rights: The Fight to Secure America’s Liberties

Question 1

The U.S bill of rights guarantees the U.S citizens individual freedoms and rights. It basically limits the U.S government from exercising excessive powers over the U.S citizens during judicial proceedings and other proceedings. The bill was among the first amendments made to the original U.S constitution, and it was propagated by anti-federalists. In spite of the arguments put forth for the inclusion of the bill of rights in the original constitution, the original constitution did not require a bill of rights. Firstly, the constitution already had checks and balances that limited the U.S government from exercising excessive powers over its citizens (Vile 192). It particularly prohibited religious tests for offices. By so doing, it gave U.S citizens the powers to practice religions of their choices. Accordingly, it was unnecessary to develop a bill containing the freedom of religion because this issue was already addressed in the original constitution. Other issues such as right to bear arms and right to fair trials were also addressed by the original constitution. Therefore, it was unnecessary to include the bill of right in the constitution.  

Secondly, the original constitution as Madison argued was a bill of right in itself. It protected the interests of its citizens. It particularly enabled the U.S citizens to enjoy their natural rights freely (Smith 12). Consequently, by ratifying the original constitution, American citizens were not giving up their rights to the federal government. As a matter of fact, America is not a kingdom (Berkin 26). Therefore, the U.S citizens did not require a bill of rights because the U.S government was meant to protect their interests rather than take anything from them.

Thirdly, in terms of duties and powers, the original constitution was clear on what the government could do and could not do. It was also clear on separation of powers between the various arms of government. The fact that the government had a clear outline of its mandate, then it was unnecessary to include the bill of rights in the constitution. Indeed, it was dangerous to include the bill of rights in the constitution because it would contain various exceptions of powers that were not granted under the original constitution (Berkin 26). Fourthly, the fact that the original constitution outlined what the government could do and could not do, the U.S citizens reserved the rights that were not given to the government (Patterson 85). More importantly, the government as developed was run by the people through their representatives. Therefore, it was unnecessarily to include a bill of right in the original constitution because the U.S citizens ran their government through elected members.     

Question 2

The concept of separation of powers refers to the idea that the principal institutions of a government ought to be distinct and disconnect from each other. In a strict sense, no person should be a member of more than one institution, and no institution should exercise the powers of another institution. The separation of the principal institutions is meant to develop a system of checks and balances among the major institutions of a government namely the judiciary, executive and legislative. It is also meant to limit the consolidation of powers to one person or institution (Glassman 1).

In USA, the separation of powers among the three arms of government is addressed by article I, II, and III. Article I on its part addresses the design and powers of legislature. Article II on its parts addresses itself to the composition and duties of executive arm of the government. Lastly, article III addresses itself to the judiciary. It defines the composition and duties of judiciary (Kommers, John and Gary 144).

In practice, although the president has some influence on what goes on in the legislative arm of government through the members of his/her party, the president is not a member of legislative. Furthermore, each arm of the government has a separate base of power. The judiciary on its part is composed of unelected members who operate under tenures. These people can only be removed from their offices if they violate the constitution or their codes of conduct. On the other hand, the top most members of legislative and executive are elected members. They come from different locations and they serve their offices on different electoral timetables (Glassman 8). In terms of roles and authorities, each arm has distinct roles and authorities. The judiciary is responsible for interpreting the constitution whereas the legislative is responsible for making laws. The executive arm on its part is responsible for executing the laws. With regard to holding offices, section 6 of article I prohibits the members of congress from holding civil offices during their terms in offices. The same principle is extended to other arms of government. Lastly, with regard to electoral bases, the members of the congress are elected from their districts without the input of the other arms of government. The same case applies to the president who is elected through a popular vote, and the members of judiciary who are appointed on the basis of their qualifications (Glassman 9).            

Work cited

Berkin, Carol. The bill of rights: The fight to secure America’s liberties. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2016. Print.

Glassman, Matthew. Separation of powers: An overview. Congressional research service report, 2016. Print.

Kommers, Donald, John, Finn, and Gary Jacobsohn. American Constitutional Law: Essays, Cases, and Comparative Notes. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. Print.

Patterson, John. The Bill of Rights: Politics, Religion, and the Quest for Justice. New York: iUniverse, 2004. Print.

Smith, Rich. Defining Our Freedoms. Edina, MN: ABDO Pub. Co, 2008. Print.

Vile, John. Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789-2015. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2015. Print.

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