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 Post subject: Why was the Bill of Rights written?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:05 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 18 Aug 2007
Posts: 1901
Yes, the question seems simple by the title, but It gets more philosophical when you see my essay question. As much as I hate asking for help on homework on the internet, I really need some help on this one. The statement I must evaluate is this:

"The Bill of Rights did not come from a desire to protect the liberties won in the American Revolution but rather from a fear of the powers of the new federal government. Asses the validity of that statement."

My initial reaction was that the latter is correct, since the BOR wasn't introduced until the Anti-Federalists fought for it once they became afraid of a large government. But then I realized that the first statement about protecting the liberties is also correct. What would you guys say about that statement above?


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the Bill of Rights written?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:25 pm 
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born to perform.

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The question makes it seem like it was only one reason or the other when it was both. Pretty confusing.

Personal liberties were extremely important to the founding fathers, as they frequently cited philosophers such as John Locke who was a strong proponent of the rights to "life, liberty, and property". So to say they had no influence in the creation of the Bill of Rights is wrong.

However, the founding fathers were equally concerned with the government potentially violating those rights. The Federalists' argued that all rights were reserved to the people because the government would only have certain powers and that if you list specific rights, then that assumes a limitation of how many one person can have. The Anti-Federalists' argued that it would only be a matter of time before the government tries to violate personal rights so they had to be specified or else anyone could use whatever definition they want.

You can see the influence from England of all places where the monarchy couldn't figure out what constitutes "implied rights" and explicit rights were eventually defined.

Citation: The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn


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 Post subject: Re: Why was the Bill of Rights written?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:08 am 
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There is a TON of writing on this subject from Jefferson and Payne up to Brandies and even the sitting Supreme Court Justices today. You just have to go to the library & research


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