On December 15, 1791 the legislature of the great state of Virginia approved ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States (which at the time was only two years old). Those first 10 amendments to the Constitution known as the Bill of Rights, was written to answer the critics of the new constitution who said the document didn’t protect individual liberties.
Written by future president James Madison, originally there were 39 amendments proposed. The House approved seventeen of the amendments, the Senate twelve. Out of the twelve amendments submitted to the states only ten were approved and became the Bill of Rights (amendments 3-12 were approved).
Originally Madison wanted these rights added to the body of the constitution, but his fellow members of the house felt the congress did not have the authority to change the wording of the constitution, so they were submitted as amendments.
Interestingly the original second amendment was approved in 1992, 202 years after being submitted to the states. Now the 27th amendment it says, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”
The original first amendment which said there should be no less than one congressmen for every 50K citizens fell one state short (with the addition of new states since then, today it would need to be approved by another 27 states to be passed. If you think congress is unworkable now just imagine if this amendment was passed. At a rate of one Rep. per 50K and a U.S. population of approximately 320 million, there would be 6,400 members of the House of Representatives.
The importance of the Bill of Rights is a list of limits on government power. It is designed to keep government off our backs by setting lines over which the government cannot pass. This is a reason why the progressive’s gun control bills, or the forcing of purchasing birth control via Obamacare are so dangerous. They infringe on the basic rights officially approved by the States 225 years ago today.
For those of you who (like me) do not have The Bill of Rights memorized, below is the text of the first ten approved amendments to the constitution,
The Bill Of Rights – Full Text
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; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
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.
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.
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.
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 offense 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.
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 reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.