Matt assembly, speech, petition, and press. What many of

Matt VentrellaProf. Thomas GoodmanPOLI236004: Rights in Conflict30 January 2018Short Essay #1:  The Bill of RightsWhen asked about the definition of rights, or which rights they hold most dearly, most Americans tend to think of those associated with the First Amendment:  religion, assembly, speech, petition, and press.

 What many of these citizens probably do not realize is that technically, none of those rights are in the Constitution as it was originally written/ratified on September 17th, 1787.  While a few colonies such as Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey quickly ratified the Constitution, and officially gained statehood before the close of 1787, other colonies such as the political powerhouses of Virginia and New York held out for almost another year before ratifying the Constitution in the Summer of 1788.  This only occurred after an intense debate regarding legal rights between two political sects:  the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.  The divide between these two groups of Framers was distinguished by deep-seeded differences concerning the power of the Federal government as a separate entity, the relationship of the state governments to the federal government, and most contentiously, the lack of an explicit bill of rights in the original U.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

S. Constitution.  The complexity of the issues at hand, and the impassioned energies by which each side was shaped should not be understated.  The Federalists may have “won” the battle of the Constitutional Convention by the successful drafting (and approval of) their vision for the future onto actual parchment; however, the Anti-Federalists were aptly prepared to contest its approval in each and every state along the tumultuous road to full ratification of the Constitution.

 At the very least, the Anti-Federalists wanted another chance for their ideas to take shape in the Constitution via amendment, and to this end, they were somewhat successful.  However, at the beginning of his fourth chapter in , Robert Godwin touches upon this subject, stating that the fact there is “a bill of rights in the Constitution, we owe in considerable part to the Anti-Federalists . . . but that we have the Bill of Rights we have, rather than a number of quite different amendments, we owe in larger part, in fact almost exclusively to James Madison” (Goldwin 57).  The pressing nature of this early constitutional struggle, which would go on to markedly shape the future of American government, required the true statesmanship, the political adroitness, and tactful, unassuming personality of the Father of the Constitution in order to assure the endurance of his constitutional brainchild unto posterity.

 In doing so, he secured a paramount legal protection for natural rights; the history of the United States demonstrates that this legal protection has “emphatically” exceeded the critiques of the Anti-Federalists (to quote Chief Justice Marshall’s words in ).Political divides were very much in play at the inceptive Congress, especially in regard to the ratification debate and the great constitutional questions being considered.  The Anti-Federalists were best described as a group of Framers who were a bit more cautious than their Federalist counterparts about constructing the new government in a strong, centralized form—essentially, so closely after that of Great Britain.  Staunch Lockeans in their view of rights, the Anti-Federalists greatly took to both social contract theory, and Jefferson’s idea of “inalienable” rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Moreover, governments were instituted specifically to protect its citizens’ rights.  However, a key distinction between the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists is that the former feared top-down infringement on citizens’ rights by the new American government, just as the King and Parliament had infringed on the rights of the colonists as English subjects.

 According to Herbert Storing in , there were two ways in which rights could be “lost” — through tyranny of an abusive government, or through the abuse of the masses; this is the same concept of “tyranny of the majority,” that Madison denotes it (Storing 68).  The Anti-Federalists’ other essential critique of the Constitution was that it was too vague regarding the explicit protection of rights.  Many Anti-Federalists simply pointed to the numerous state constitutions which included a specific listing of protected rights and privileges of citizenship (Godwin 84).  They were puzzled at the lack of a National Bill of Rights.  Patrick Henry of Virginia satirically questioned, would enumerating people’s rights require “too much paper?” (Storing 66).  The main categories of rights which the Anti-Federalists advocated for included legal procedural protections, freedoms of free expression, and the freedom of the press (64).  To these ends, the Anti-Federalists were quite successful; one look at the present Bill of Rights illustrates this.

 However, the idea of enumerated rights was not so “safe” according to the Federalists.Just as the Anti-Federalists feared a strong, central government, the Federalist sect of Framers feared too weak a government.  They had seen the result, they argued, of too weak a government in the failure of the Articles of Confederation, as made manifest in Shay’s Rebellion (Goldwin 38).  Rather than a top-down version of tyranny, the Federalists were concerned about safeguarding against a bottom-up insurrection of the masses.  Because in a democratic form of government, the people are sovereign, it was therefore only necessary to guard against tyranny of the majority, not the tyranny of the government(s).  Storing makes the argument that “a truly federal government needs no bill of rights” (65) and its citizens can rely on the existence of state bills of rights solely.

In , Hamilton essentially extends this argument, not only claiming that a national bill of rights would be unnecessary, but that the existence of one could actually be dangerous.  He posits, that even negatively alluding to powers which do not exist could plant the seeds of usurpation into future government leaders’ minds.  It was also a concern of many Federalists that a bill of rights would set a dangerous legal precedent of assuming that people’s rights only extend as far as those specifically enumerated (Hamilton, Madison, and Jay 535).  Just as the Anti-Federalists were concerned about the legal protections of rights being too vague, the Federalists were concerned about the legal protections of rights being overly specific.  “Happily” (a phrase which Madison frequently used to describe the extensive compromises in the United States’ unique political system), both parties’ concerns are rectified in the current Bill of Rights, and that credit is largely due to the efforts of James Madison, himself.Just as it is often said that the Constitution is an amazing bundle of profound political compromises, it is evident that the Bill of Rights, too, is a shining example of a compromise that preserved the union of states.

 It truly recognized the concerns of both the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists in a few central ways.  The First Amendment freedoms of religion, assembly, speech, petition, and press are in line with the specific concerns of the Anti-Federalists.  Also, the specific legal protections afforded to US citizens such as the right to an attorney, the right to due process, and the prohibition against arbitrary imprisonment all reflect concerns that were “Anti-Federalist” in nature—not to mention the Tenth Amendment’s “reserved powers clause” which explicitly states that any rights not delegated to the national government are reserved to the state governments.  This amendment further solidified the idea of federalism, another key constitutional protection which both sects agreed to.  In terms of Federalist victories in the Bill of Rights, the most striking example is the Ninth Amendment.

 It states:  “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  It effectively resolves the concerns of Hamilton and other Federalists that a national bill of rights could be dangerous.  Furthermore, the entire legacy of the Constitution was protected via the Bill of Rights compromise, which essentially ensured that the Constitution of 1787 would endure largely unchanged in its original nature.  On May 29th, 1790, Rhode Island became the final former British colony to ratify the Constitution of the United States:  the new national government was now unanimous.Appropriately, it was Congressman James Madison of Virginia who relied on his legislative prowess in order to save the Union from a partisan struggle which could have torn it apart before it was even fully formed.  It is of particular interest that Madison, an author of the Federalist, went on to become a member of the Democratic-Republican Party with Thomas Jefferson, in direction opposition to the “Federalist Party” developed by Hamilton, Adams, and their disciples.  What caused this shift?  Godwin answers that, somewhere along the line, Madison underwent a revolution of thought regarding the national bill of rights:  it occurred in none-other-than a correspondence to Thomas Jefferson.

 Madison argued, for the first time, that “a properly drawn bill of rights, ‘incorporated with the national sentiment, can counteract the impulses of interest and passion'” (Godwin 99).  It may have been an early theory on the legal protections afforded to rights, but Madison’s idea of inherent, well-promulgated rights emblazoned into our current Bill of Rights has truly shaped the sacred American conception of rights throughout the whole of American history.Matt VentrellaProf. Thomas GoodmanPOLI236004: Rights in Conflict30 January 2018Short Essay #1:  The Bill of RightsWhen asked about the definition of rights, or which rights they hold most dearly, most Americans tend to think of those associated with the First Amendment:  religion, assembly, speech, petition, and press.  What many of these citizens probably do not realize is that technically, none of those rights are in the Constitution as it was originally written/ratified on September 17th, 1787.  While a few colonies such as Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey quickly ratified the Constitution, and officially gained statehood before the close of 1787, other colonies such as the political powerhouses of Virginia and New York held out for almost another year before ratifying the Constitution in the Summer of 1788.

 This only occurred after an intense debate regarding legal rights between two political sects:  the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.  The divide between these two groups of Framers was distinguished by deep-seeded differences concerning the power of the Federal government as a separate entity, the relationship of the state governments to the federal government, and most contentiously, the lack of an explicit bill of rights in the original U.S.

Constitution.  The complexity of the issues at hand, and the impassioned energies by which each side was shaped should not be understated.  The Federalists may have “won” the battle of the Constitutional Convention by the successful drafting (and approval of) their vision for the future onto actual parchment; however, the Anti-Federalists were aptly prepared to contest its approval in each and every state along the tumultuous road to full ratification of the Constitution.  At the very least, the Anti-Federalists wanted another chance for their ideas to take shape in the Constitution via amendment, and to this end, they were somewhat successful.  However, at the beginning of his fourth chapter in , Robert Godwin touches upon this subject, stating that the fact there is “a bill of rights in the Constitution, we owe in considerable part to the Anti-Federalists .

. . but that we have the Bill of Rights we have, rather than a number of quite different amendments, we owe in larger part, in fact almost exclusively to James Madison” (Goldwin 57).  The pressing nature of this early constitutional struggle, which would go on to markedly shape the future of American government, required the true statesmanship, the political adroitness, and tactful, unassuming personality of the Father of the Constitution in order to assure the endurance of his constitutional brainchild unto posterity.  In doing so, he secured a paramount legal protection for natural rights; the history of the United States demonstrates that this legal protection has “emphatically” exceeded the critiques of the Anti-Federalists (to quote Chief Justice Marshall’s words in ).Political divides were very much in play at the inceptive Congress, especially in regard to the ratification debate and the great constitutional questions being considered.  The Anti-Federalists were best described as a group of Framers who were a bit more cautious than their Federalist counterparts about constructing the new government in a strong, centralized form—essentially, so closely after that of Great Britain.  Staunch Lockeans in their view of rights, the Anti-Federalists greatly took to both social contract theory, and Jefferson’s idea of “inalienable” rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

”  Moreover, governments were instituted specifically to protect its citizens’ rights.  However, a key distinction between the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists is that the former feared top-down infringement on citizens’ rights by the new American government, just as the King and Parliament had infringed on the rights of the colonists as English subjects.  According to Herbert Storing in , there were two ways in which rights could be “lost” — through tyranny of an abusive government, or through the abuse of the masses; this is the same concept of “tyranny of the majority,” that Madison denotes it (Storing 68).  The Anti-Federalists’ other essential critique of the Constitution was that it was too vague regarding the explicit protection of rights.  Many Anti-Federalists simply pointed to the numerous state constitutions which included a specific listing of protected rights and privileges of citizenship (Godwin 84).

 They were puzzled at the lack of a National Bill of Rights.  Patrick Henry of Virginia satirically questioned, would enumerating people’s rights require “too much paper?” (Storing 66).  The main categories of rights which the Anti-Federalists advocated for included legal procedural protections, freedoms of free expression, and the freedom of the press (64).

 To these ends, the Anti-Federalists were quite successful; one look at the present Bill of Rights illustrates this.  However, the idea of enumerated rights was not so “safe” according to the Federalists.Just as the Anti-Federalists feared a strong, central government, the Federalist sect of Framers feared too weak a government.

 They had seen the result, they argued, of too weak a government in the failure of the Articles of Confederation, as made manifest in Shay’s Rebellion (Goldwin 38).  Rather than a top-down version of tyranny, the Federalists were concerned about safeguarding against a bottom-up insurrection of the masses.  Because in a democratic form of government, the people are sovereign, it was therefore only necessary to guard against tyranny of the majority, not the tyranny of the government(s).  Storing makes the argument that “a truly federal government needs no bill of rights” (65) and its citizens can rely on the existence of state bills of rights solely. In , Hamilton essentially extends this argument, not only claiming that a national bill of rights would be unnecessary, but that the existence of one could actually be dangerous.  He posits, that even negatively alluding to powers which do not exist could plant the seeds of usurpation into future government leaders’ minds.

 It was also a concern of many Federalists that a bill of rights would set a dangerous legal precedent of assuming that people’s rights only extend as far as those specifically enumerated (Hamilton, Madison, and Jay 535).  Just as the Anti-Federalists were concerned about the legal protections of rights being too vague, the Federalists were concerned about the legal protections of rights being overly specific.  “Happily” (a phrase which Madison frequently used to describe the extensive compromises in the United States’ unique political system), both parties’ concerns are rectified in the current Bill of Rights, and that credit is largely due to the efforts of James Madison, himself.Just as it is often said that the Constitution is an amazing bundle of profound political compromises, it is evident that the Bill of Rights, too, is a shining example of a compromise that preserved the union of states.  It truly recognized the concerns of both the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists in a few central ways.  The First Amendment freedoms of religion, assembly, speech, petition, and press are in line with the specific concerns of the Anti-Federalists.  Also, the specific legal protections afforded to US citizens such as the right to an attorney, the right to due process, and the prohibition against arbitrary imprisonment all reflect concerns that were “Anti-Federalist” in nature—not to mention the Tenth Amendment’s “reserved powers clause” which explicitly states that any rights not delegated to the national government are reserved to the state governments.

 This amendment further solidified the idea of federalism, another key constitutional protection which both sects agreed to.  In terms of Federalist victories in the Bill of Rights, the most striking example is the Ninth Amendment.  It states:  “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

”  It effectively resolves the concerns of Hamilton and other Federalists that a national bill of rights could be dangerous.  Furthermore, the entire legacy of the Constitution was protected via the Bill of Rights compromise, which essentially ensured that the Constitution of 1787 would endure largely unchanged in its original nature.  On May 29th, 1790, Rhode Island became the final former British colony to ratify the Constitution of the United States:  the new national government was now unanimous.Appropriately, it was Congressman James Madison of Virginia who relied on his legislative prowess in order to save the Union from a partisan struggle which could have torn it apart before it was even fully formed.  It is of particular interest that Madison, an author of the Federalist, went on to become a member of the Democratic-Republican Party with Thomas Jefferson, in direction opposition to the “Federalist Party” developed by Hamilton, Adams, and their disciples.  What caused this shift?  Godwin answers that, somewhere along the line, Madison underwent a revolution of thought regarding the national bill of rights:  it occurred in none-other-than a correspondence to Thomas Jefferson.  Madison argued, for the first time, that “a properly drawn bill of rights, ‘incorporated with the national sentiment, can counteract the impulses of interest and passion'” (Godwin 99).  It may have been an early theory on the legal protections afforded to rights, but Madison’s idea of inherent, well-promulgated rights emblazoned into our current Bill of Rights has truly shaped the sacred American conception of rights throughout the whole of American history.