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The Bill of Rights
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The Bill of Rights

776

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”. September 25, 1789. The Bill Of Rights approved by Congress.

As USA Really has already reported numerous times, freedom of speech in modern day America is under attack, a situation visible even in relation to our news agency, since our social network sites and video hosts, such as Facebook, Instagram and Youtube have been blocked several times without any warning. Our resource has also been deprived from the rights to be indexed by Google, which is a true violation of our rights, as well as of the rights of our readers.

“On the day before the 4th of July, Google suspended USA Really’s account. USA Really has not received any e-mails or text messages from Google telling us that the account is disabled. When logging into the account, Google directed us to the following notice: “Your account is disabled. If you’re redirected to this page, your Google Account has been disabled.”

What would James Madison, primary author and chief advocate for the Bill of Rights in the First Congress say about that?

This is exactly what the House, Senate and Congress fought against back in the fall of 1789, adopting The Bill Of Rights, and that is exactly what the First Amendment to the Constitution (and the Third Article of the Bill respectively) was all about. The values of freedom of speech and freedom of press have been some of the most important in American history.

What was the Bill Of Rights in general? First of all, it simply was a pack of amendments added to the US Constitution (ratified June 21, 1788). What were the other Bill of Rights articles (besides the already mentioned Third one)  devoted to, and what reflection did they later find in the Constitution? 

The First Article of the Bill stated:

“After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons…”. This Article received “pending” status and was never ratified. Technically, this amendment is still pending, so some day the States might ratify it.

The Second Article of the Bill stated that “no law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened…”. Amazing, but this plain and simple measure only found its reflection in the Constitution more than two hundred years after it was presented, so to become the Twenty-seventh Amendment, ratified May 5, 1992

The Fourth Article defended the rights of the people to hold and bear arms: “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. As well as vast majority of the amendments of early years, the Second one (previously – the Fourth Article of the Bill) was adopted December 15, 1791.

“No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law…” – stated the Fifth Article ( later the Third Amendment). The amendment was a response to Quartering Acts passed by the British parliament during the buildup to the American Revolutionary War, which had allowed the British Army to lodge soldiers in private residences.

The Sixth Article and, respectively, the Fourth Amendment defended: “the right of the People to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized…”.

The Seventh Article and the Fifth Amendment regarded judicial sphere: “no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation…”

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense…” – stated the text of The Eighth Article (future Sixth Amendment).

The Ninth Article and the Seventh Amendment said: “…in suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by Jury shall be preserved, and no fact, tried by a Jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law…”

Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth Articles (future Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments) were the shortest ones of the Bill, and were respectively devoted to the finery procedures, the enumeration of the Constitution and to the powers, that should be delegated to the people of the United States.

Unfortunately, nowadays many amendments have practically been forgotten, the rights of people are severely violated and the politicians do everything to discredit the Constitution. However, we believe some day America will recall its roots and get back to the basics, respecting The Bill of Rights as it was back in 1789.

Author: USA Really