The Pros And Cons Of The Bill Of Rights

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In the Fall of 1787, upon reading the proposed Constitution of the United States that had recently been sent to the colonies for ratification, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson: “What think you of a Declaration of Rights? Should not such a thing have preceded the model?”1 Jefferson wrote to James Madison later that same year: “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse.”2 In another letter to Madison, Jefferson stated more definitively: I do not like…the omission of a bill of rights providing clearly and without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction against monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of habeas corpus, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land and not by law of nations.3 Thus, James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” had a dilemma in winning ratification of “his” constitution. Should a bill of rights be added to the proposed constitution? Originally opposed to the addition of a bill of rights, Madison, always a true advocate of those rights, eventually accepted that a bill of rights should be adopted. It became necessary to gain acceptance of the proposed Constitution,…show more content…
Many Federalists worried that, if included as part of the Constitution, people would come to believe that these “unalienable rights” were created by the Constitution and not by their Creator and, thus, could be taken
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