Why wasn’t the Bill of Rights originally in the US Constitution? – James Coll
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Why wasn’t the Bill of Rights originally in the US Constitution? – James Coll

August 23, 2019


Take a moment to think
about the US Constitution. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Freedom of speech? Protection from illegal searches? The right to keep and bear arms? These passages are cited so often that we can hardly imagine the document
without them, but that’s exactly what the writers
of the Constitution did. The list of individual freedoms
known as the Bill of Rights was not in the original text and wasn’t added for another three years. So does this mean the founders
didn’t consider them? The answer goes back to the very origins
of the Constitution itself. Even prior to the first shots
of the American Revolution, the Thirteen Colonies worked together
through a provisional government called the Continental Congress. During the war in 1781, the Articles of Confederation
were ratified as the first truly national government. But establishing a new nation
would prove easier than running it. Congress had no power to make
the states comply with their laws. When the national government proved
unable to raise funds, enforce foreign treaties, or suppress rebellions, it was clear reform was needed. So in May 1787, all the states
but Rhode Island sent delegates to Philidelphia
for a constitutional convention. A majority of these delegates favored
introducing a new national constitution to create a stronger federal government. Thanks to compromises on issues
like state representation, taxation power, and how to elect the president, their proposal gradually gained support. But the final text drafted in September still had to be approved by conventions
held in the states. So over the next few months, ratification would be debated
across the young nation. Among those who championed
the new document were leading statesmen Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Together, they laid out eloquent
philosophical arguments for their positions
in a series of 85 essays now known as the Federalist Papers. But others felt the Constitution
was overreaching and that more centralized authority would return the states to the sort
of tyranny they had just escaped. These Anti-Federalists
were especially worried by the text’s apparent lack of protections
for individual liberties. As the conventions proceeded, many of these critics shifted
from opposing the Constitution entirely to insisting on adding an explicit
declaration of rights. So what was the Federalists problem
with this idea? While their opponents accused them
of despotism, wanting to maintain absolute power
in the central government, their real motives were mostly practical. Changing the constitution when it
had already been ratified by some states could complicate the entire process. More importantly, Madison felt that
people’s rights were already guaranteed through the democratic process, while adding extra provisions
risked misinterpretation. And some feared that creating an explicit
list of things the government can’t do would imply that it can do
everything else. After the first five states ratified
the Constitution quickly, the debate grew more intense. Massachusetts and several other states would only ratify if they could propose
their own amendments for consideration. Leading Federalists recognized the need
to compromise and promised to give them due regard. Once ratification by nine states finally
brought the Constitution into legal force, they made good on their promise. During a meeting of
the first United States Congress, representative James Madison stood on the House floor to propose
the very amendments he had previously believed
to be unnecessary. After much debate and revision, first in the Congress, and then in the states, ten amendments were ratified
on December 15, 1791, over three years after
the US Constitution had become law. Today, every sentence, word,
and punctuation mark in the Bill of RIghts is still considered fundamental
to the freedoms Americans enjoy, even though the original framers
left them out.

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  1. What sucks as a Canadian, is that I'm just a bystander to all the shootings and trauma caused by guns in America. The 2nd Amendment specifies that any militia has the right to bare arms, not every single American to ever live. I feel like people started to take this with a grain of salt and just took it as "Any American human being who has a finger that is able to pull a trigger, has the fundamental right to bare arms" which is just not right. In the beginnings of America, every able-bodied person had to have the right to a gun because — due to the fact a new fucking nation is just beginning and money and military was tight — basically everyone was always on hold for the next war, or battle, or anything that the country would need soldiers and fighters for. But now, in present-day, gun control is needed in America, and if people — if ***American's — can't see that, I don't know what the fuck is going on in some people's heads. The 2nd amendment needs to be ratified, specified, re-written, taken out, or SOMETHING. It's about time they change and re-evaluate the basic rules American's put in place in the late 1700's. And maybe I don't know the constitution that well, or I don't know America enough, or I'm just a kid but there needs to at least be some test put in place before buying a gun to evaluate the mental state and abilities of any ol' human that walks in and wants a firearm. Maybe I'm crazy but that just makes sense to me….

  2. Of course it was Madison, yet again, who foresaw the issues we now face today and have faced throughout our history due to the fallacious interpretation of the Constitution as an all-or-nothing document.

  3. The Articles of Confederation did NOT create a "truly national government". It was a weak confederation and that distinction was very important to the people of the time.

  4. Whet the video says about 9 states ratifying is wrong. Virginia didn't even find out New Hampshire was the 9th State until they had already become the 10th. Virginia celebrated being the 9th system before finding out they weren't. New York got word quickly because Hamilton paid a pony express rider to bring word and that had a major impact on the NY ratifying debate.

    NY proposed using the Article V Convention process since the new Constitution was now in effect and New York and Virginia did that, but Congress didn't act until they convened months later. By then there were 11 States, followed quickly by #12 North Carolina, to make the proposal in Congress. (Rhode Island held out and did not participate in the first Congress that proposed the bill of rights.)

  5. Fuck the Hamilton fandom! I don't understand it and I don't like how the first thing that came to mind was the play I HAVE NEVER HEARD OR SEEN ANYTHING RELATING TO IT I've only ever heard of it. This is THE WORST kind of secondhand fandom

  6. I don't even think it says every person has the right to own a gun, I thought it was they had the right to bear arms to form a militia against the state if they thought it was unjust? I remember hearing that somewhere

  7. I HAVE A VIDEO IDEA
    why do we have that taste in our mouth when we think of a food we want or, why can we taste the food in our mouth when we smell it?

  8. The animated guns were realistic as can be!Great detailed art. Is it bad that was my favorite part of this presentation ?

  9. 1:39 it gained support, but not everyone defended it. I'm looking at you Aaron Burr! still think your backing the wrong horse!!

  10. Everyone already beat me to it, but here's the line I thought of. "Winning was easy young man. Governing's harder."

  11. I'm not American so I probably don't know much or even have a right to say this, but why is the Bill of Rights only aimed towards "Weiße people" (white people) of the united states, surely that means that all people of coloured skin don't have to follow these laws. It's probably wrong but I thought why not start the argument anyway.

  12. I know that the Bill of Rights was written because not of "practicality" but to the protection of the few vested interests aka: the elites. Reading the private correspondences between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison revealed of the imperfections of democracy and the intelligence of the common people (they, the Founding Fathers, were elitists, that's the fact). Hence, "misinterpretations" in viewing/reading the US Constitution that could have avoided in the first place were /are a failed endeavor.

  13. They were afraid adding specifically spelled out rights would cause potential misinterpretation? That was disturbingly prophetic.

  14. You fail to mention the reason the debate over individual rights became so contentious: many of the states constitutions already provided those rights. They weren't based on "what if the federal government does ….." They were written to prevent the government of the United States from becoming as tyrannous as the British one had been. They were glaringly absent from the federal constitution and many delegates signed the Constitution only on the condition that those protections be added.

  15. Just let it go…

    Either the constitution was powerless to protect the peoples rights and check the growth and expansion of the government or it was never intended to do these things. In either case it has failed.

  16. A better question: why do so many Americans think that the constitution is based on the 10 commandments when it so obviously was not?

  17. A better question: why do so many Americans think that the constitution is based on biblical values when it so obviously was not?

  18. Every few words a new song part from Hamilton got stuck in my head there is no escape. also the hamilton illustration was adorable.

  19. Because the founders thought that these rights were so self evident and that the government was already limited so strictly that they didn't need to be enumerated. Thankfully, they eventually realized how fucking retarded future generations might be.

  20. The biggest take away here is that the Constitution did not need a bill of rights. The Constitution only gave congress a few specific powers. The Constitution does not need the bill of rights because it is implied that any powers not explicitly given to the federal government belongs to the states or the people. The Bill of Rights simply spelled out some of the logical consequences of this. In fact the 10th amendment specifically says that powers not given to the federal government belong to the people or states.

  21. The constitution is basically the american koran. Both harvest innocent lives, both are describing an obsolete world and both are believed in by uneducated idiots.

  22. Wonder which moronic jackass we would have to travel back in time and kill in order to sort out the stupid "bear arms" ammendment. Seriously noone noticed that it was just straight up badly written and far too ambiguous?!

  23. This is a very poor view of the history. It presents the normal views of the elite wealthy class and nowhere are the enumerated rights of an individual mentioned. Those are rights that every individual had in Germania. The right to defend, the right to face an accuser, the right to not house foreign troops without compensate. These rights were earned on the European continent long before they were soiled by the British kings and queens. They are rights we can thank to the Hun and other barbarian tribes.

  24. It was only 12 original:ies Delaware was considered a part of Pennsylvania until After the The Revolutionary War This is something no one ever seems to remember or consider

  25. "Take a moment to think about the US Constitution. What's the first thing that comes to mind?"
    Hamilton…
    "Freedom of speech?"
    No… Hamilton
    "Protection from illegal searches?"
    No, I said Hamilton.
    "The right to keep and bear arms?"
    NO HAMILTON
    continues on with the video
    Well then…..

  26. I don't even live in the USA, I don't take history but I still knew more than half of this because of Hamilton 😂

  27. American: WE NEED GUNS TO BE SAFE FROM MURDERERS!
    Smart person: If you have guns so will the murderers. Therefore, all allowing people to have guns does is escalate dangerous situations into very dangerous situations.
    American: shoots smart person

  28. Repealing the second amendment does nothing. The bill of rights doesn’t GIVE us these rights. It says in the constitution we are BORN with these rights and they are given by god. They cannot be Taken even by repealing the amendments. these rights will always be ours. And I know you liberals out there want Uncle Sam to protect you but who will protect you from Uncle Sam?

  29. bruh my teacher gave us this for our homework help I didn't even get answer I mean I barley got some I just cant do diss………..jk I can do this I'm just playing around

  30. I can already see the Alexander hamilton vs Aaron burr duel video. American founding father Alexander Hamilton is being rowed back across the Hudson after being shot by Vice President Aaron burr. But how did it get to his point? To answer that we have to go back…

  31. congress has free interpretation . which is why there was over 50 unconstitutional electors that voted for trump after the rnc and dnc picked the candidates years before the election charging $Billions .

  32. the usa is not a democracy !!! it's a federalist republic !!! YOUR VOTE DOESN'T COUNT ! the popular vote wasn't even recorded until 1820 and is only just a pacification ! to keep the people from rioting and making the usa a democracy .

  33. This conflation of states rights with individual rights must stop. The video replicates that error. The Bill of Rights had nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights. The States already had their individual rights pursuant to their own state Constitutions. They didn't need those rights protected by the federal government. The simply needed the federal government not to infringe on state legislation, or the rights of states. (The claim that states have no rights is one of those absurd fallacies that pass for oracular wisdom these days. States do have rights as well as powers. They have powers in their superordinate relationship to the municipal governments of the states, and they have rights in their subordinate relationship to the federal Government.

    Thus none of the Bill of Rights apply to the States and were only applicable to the Congress. Nor do they protect individual rights, as I think the video implies. They protect only states' rights; that is, the rights of the states and the principle of dual sovereignty.

  34. The framers left them out because because rights are natural as they understood them. This was the influence of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Hamilton felt that listing rights, would imply that rights come from government, and Jefferson felt that enumerating rights that were infinite and innumerable would imply that only those right listed were protected.

    The preamble to the first ten amendments makes plain that they are "further restrictions and declaratory clauses" to limit what congress may do. https://drexel.edu/ogcr/resources/constitution/amendments/preamble/

    Further, the amendments are worded as they are because rights are natural. The first amendment "Congress shall make no law…" not conferring a right, but rather stating what congress may not do. The second amendment ends "shall not be infringed."

  35. The first thing that comes to mind is the illegality of the document and the fact that it's existence actually took rights away from citizens.

  36. colonist were ruled by a constitutional monarchy and enjoyed the 1689 bill of rights . after the war they had nothing because the founders refused to give others any rights that would break their monopoly . the people rioted for 3 years while Washington forbade the bill of rights and finally won a stripped down version . there is no legal proof of who wrote it . Mason copied it from his uncles books and others edited it . Jefferson was in France . Franklin in England .

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