How far would you trust the current Congress? Would you trust the House and the Senate to take up the cause of your individual rights and freedoms? Would you vest in them the power of Government, with new, more broad expansions of the control that they currently have on the promise of these politicians that they would ensure your rights and freedoms?
We probably wouldn’t. Living in a day and an age when the Bill of Rights is seen more as a hurdle to get over than a framework for responsible government, we probably wouldn’t believe the assurance even of well-meaning politicians to do protect our liberties. Yet as the Constitution was ratified that was exactly what the states and the people did. They ultimately agreed to approve this vast expansion of the powers of government in the promise that these politicians would take to the Congress to draft a Bill of Rights ensuring that as the political rights of the nation were entrenched in the Constitution the Individual Rights of the People would be ensured in an equally powerful document.
In Part Two of this series on the Bill of Rights we leave behind the British Magna Carta, Petition of Rights and Bill of Rights, those documents that were brought to America by the Colonists, and we focus on the path to our own Magna Carta Americana, our own declaration of Rights, and how the ratification process for the Constitution ensured its inevitable passage. Looking at the role of the Massachusetts Compromise, the thoughts of men like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other early American leaders we chart the contentious course of the Constitution and how its passage came with the stipulation that a Bill of Rights would need to come from the first Congress. We look at the personal struggles that the Constitution brought as Founders were vilified and Madison almost witnessed the death of his own political career.
I hope that you join with me in this next installment of this series on the road to the Bill of Rights.