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Bill of Rights Day!

Citizen

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Tuesday is the 224th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights.

Feel free to remark on the history of any single right or the Bill of Rights. Anything from little tidbits of historical knowledge to a long post discussing the history of an enumerated right. Or, even anything even tangentially related, for example, your view on how well many Americans understand or misunderstand rights.

Don't be shy. Even if you think lots of people already know, there is probably a lurker out there who never heard before the fact, conclusion, or idea you contribute to the thread.

Let's celebrate Bill of Rights Day by sharing and debating a major milestone in the political history of mankind!
 
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Citizen

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Alright, I'll go first.

Five hundred seventy-six years. That was the interval between Magna Carta and the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

Half a millennium.

Across that time countless numbers of people who could have been your neighbors, friends, and family paid the price in blood, smoke, and treasure to wrest from government the rights in the Bill of Rights.

In his liberty-or-death speech, Patrick Henry asked when did government ever willingly a relinquish power, meaning willingly yield to a right.

The cost paid to obtain the rights in the Bill of Rights was very high. Over five hundred years of decent human beings burned at the stake (Mary Tudor, Fifth Amendment), having their ears cut off, disposed of their jobs and property, imprisoned, the English Civil War and all its dead and maimed, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

The Price was massive.

I do not want to have to pay that price again to recover something already paid for in blood, smoke, and treasure.

I shall not yield, I shall not concede. Not not even one inch.
 
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Citizen

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Forty-nine views and only one post? Really?

OK. I'll toss in a couple historical facts.

James Madison is regarded as the Father of the Bill of Rights.

That is true, but only as far is it goes. He was a reluctant father; it was a shotgun wedding. He's on record referring to the Bill of Rights controversy as that "odious affair." He only caved when the freedom-minded anti-Federalists, deeply suspicious of a central government growing very powerful, threatened to derail ratification of the constitution.

Now, get this very carefully. The Federalists didn't give us a Bill of Rights because they thought we deserved one. It was a political ploy. The anti-Federalists were opposed to the constitution and the powerful central government it was creating. One of their arguments was the lack of a bill of rights.

So, the Federalists promised to supply a Bill of Rights. It mollified enough of the anti-Federalists to allow ratification of the constitution itself.

So, its not like the Framers were gifted above men with wisdom and benevolence. The Bill of Rights was a political ploy.
 

Citizen

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Which is why reading the federalist papers and the anti-federalist papers, is so necessary.

Sent from my SM-G386T using Tapatalk
Absolutely! One cannot possibly claim to be a constitutionalist without reading both the federalist papers and the anti-federalist papers.

For unfamiliar readers, the Federalist Papers are a collection of letters-to-the-editor. Supporters of the constitution realized there were going to be two or three "battle-ground" states. Virginia was one. I think Pennsylvania and New York were the others. The federalist thinking was that if any of those states refused to ratify the constitution, the game was lost because other states would follow their lead.

So, a plan was made for John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison to write a series of essays for publication in the newspapers in the battle-ground states to sway opinion.

The Federalist Papers are marketing pieces. Totally intended to sway opinion into support for the constitution.

Even then, support was so rickety the federalists had to resort to ratifying conventions in the individual states. That is to say, there was no nation-wide referendum as to whether to adopt the constitution. The state legislatures either voted directly or created committees (ratifying conventions) to vote for adoption. The only state to submit the new constitution to the people was Rhode Island. Rhode Island voters defeated the constitution by something like 11-1.

I cannot recall if a Bill of Rights was discussed in the Federalist Papers. Anybody know?
 
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Freedom1Man

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SNIP
I cannot recall if a Bill of Rights was discussed in the Federalist Papers. Anybody know?
Not directly from my recollection, rights were said to be fundamental and that no people would allow the destruction of these rights because the federal government would never have the power to do so.

Stuff like that.
 

OC for ME

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Antifederalist No. 84
ON THE LACK OF A BILL OF RIGHTS
By "BRUTUS"

When a building is to be erected which is intended to stand for ages, the foundation should be firmly laid. The Constitution proposed to your acceptance is designed, not for yourselves alone, but for generations yet unborn. The principles, therefore, upon which the social compact is founded, ought to have been clearly and precisely stated, and the most express and full declaration of rights to have been made. But on this subject there is almost an entire silence. ...

http://jpfo.org/articles-assd/anti-fed-84.htm
Hmm...

Sadly, there is a minority of similar thought amongst state employees.
 

sudden valley gunner

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I've just started reading St. George Tucker....wowie! Why didn't I discover him earlier.

Reading his warnings about a government who does not remain within is limited powers is eerily prophetic.

A bill of rights may be considered, not onlyas intended to give law, and assign limits toa government about to be established, but asgiving information to the people. By reducingspeculative truths to fundamental laws,every man of the meanest capacity and understanding,may learn his own rights, andknow when they are violated ....- St. George Tucker
 

Citizen

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Federalist Paper 84 – Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Considered and Answered

Independent Journal, Wednesday, July 16, Saturday, July 26, Saturday, August 9, 1788 [Alexander Hamilton]

¶2: The most considerable of the remaining objections is that the plan of the convention contains no bill of rights. Among other answers given to this, it has been upon different occasions remarked that the constitutions of several of the States are in a similar predicament. I add that New York is of the number. And yet the opposers of the new system, in this State, who profess an unlimited admiration for its constitution, are among the most intemperate partisans of a bill of rights. To justify their zeal in this matter, they allege two things: one is that, though the constitution of New York has no bill of rights prefixed to it, yet it contains, in the body of it, various provisions in favor of particular privileges and rights, which, in substance amount to the same thing; the other is, that the Constitution adopts, in their full extent, the common and statute law of Great Britain, by which many other rights, not expressed in it, are equally secured.

A fine resource http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/
<chuckle> I've been learning about this stuff for too long. After reading the text quoted above, I wondered to myself who wrote it--Madison? Hamilton? Jay? Number 84 is very late, so it would be Hamilton or Madison. Then I realized the rhetorical tactic of attacking an opponent's inconsistency. Only one of those three fit that mold--Hamilton. Then I realized the quote mentioned New York as "this state". Aha! Hamilton had financial connections in New York! The little rhetorical tactic, the location, its gotta be Hamilton! (Jay was also from New York but quit writing Federalists early for health reasons or something.) So, feeling all smug that I had figured who was the author of #84, I happened to glance at the citation for the publication. (sigh) I coulda just saved myself all that figuring by just looking at the danged citation.

Anyway, thanks for the quote, Nightmare. Exactly what I was wondering about. I had forgotten all about federalistpapers(dot)org.
 
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sudden valley gunner

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It may be the only thing Hamilton got right about the Bill of rights but probably not for altruistic reasons.

That the enumeration of certain rights would cause problems. Even posters here make it out that those rights are more special.
 
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