Once their independence had been declared in 1776, the
thirteen colonies had been at a loss when it came to forming their own government.
This led to the creation of the Articles of Confederation, which would unify
the colonies with a centralized government. However, it is made clear that the
Articles didn’t provide enough power to the government over the states- to the
point that some of the state delegates did not feel the need to show up and
vote on issues as the states were left to their own devices to form their own
laws. Federalists would argue that the Constitution did not need a bill of
rights because, as a state, they would lose some of the powers that weren’t
already given to the federal government. Anti-Federalists knew that a bill of rights
would be necessary to protect individual liberty. James Madison, who has
recently been elected to the House during this time, went through and made
changes to the Constitution itself, however, several representatives objected
that the government lacked authority to change it. As a result, Madison’s changes
were presented as twenty amendments that followed Article VII instead. The
House had approved seventeen amendments and of these seventeen, the Senate had
approved twelve. Of those twelve, ten were quickly ratified. On December 15,
1791, the Bill of Rights had been approved by all thirteen states and added to
the Constitution.

            The ten amendments list our basic rights as they limit
what the federal government could do with their power to preserve the
individual’s liberties. The first amendment protects the freedom of speech, religion,
and the press. This freedom allows us to say what they think without being
punished by the government’s authority. However, there has been some
controversy when it comes to understanding how far the amendment would allow us
to go. For example, could students have the right to pray in a classroom
setting, as the government is not allowed to interfere with any one’s
individual religion, or would their prayers interfere with another classmate’s
right not to pray? When it comes to questionable situations, it’s discomforting
to realize that our promised freedom is still subdued by another’s own view of “freedom”.

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The
second amendment guarantees a citizen’s right to bear arms- which is another
controversial subject we are continuously faced with today. Gun control is a
huge issue in the United States as the citizens are torn between wanting to
keep the freedom of owning firearms to protect themselves and urging their
government to increase their control over the sale of these firearms to prevent
tragedy. The third amendment, to my understanding, has been glossed over due to
the lack of need to provide lodging for their troops. Before the Revolution,
the British had forced the Americans to provide for their troops and pardon the
intrusion of privacy and cost.        

The
fourth protects those suspected of crime by requiring a warrant issued by a
judge to list what possessions could be searched. This is important to protect
the individual’s privacy in terms of their bodies, their belongings, and their
homes. The fifth follows in relation to the fourth where everyone will be
assumed innocent until proven guilty. In some places, the opposite holds true
in that the suspects are guilty until they could prove their innocence. I feel
that is important to look over the facts before choosing to condemn an
individual for the mere possibility that they could have committed the crime.
The sixth amendment guarantees that the accused has a right to a quick public
trial in the area where the crime is committed. This amendment is in place in
favor of the accused reputation; to have immediate access to a trial lessens
the damage of waiting for the title of a potential criminal to be cleared. The
seventh allows civil cases to have a jury trial if the value in controversy
exceeds twenty dollars. However, at this present time, it’s much more common to
bring cases to federal courts if the value to be obtained is much larger.