High school
Design & Technology
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Enquiry Topics 1) When the first congress met after the government was established under the constitution, legislation was introduced to add a bill of rights. Why this action was necessary so early after the government was established? Why is the Bill of Rights so important?


The debates in the state legislatures for ratification threw up serious concerns about the absence of protection of individual rights in the constitution which could lead to the government imposing tyrannical controls over its citizens. James Madison, the principal architect of the constitution, promised that the document would be amended to include individual rights. Several key states insisted on amendments and two states, North Carolina and Rhode Island refused to ratify the constitution without such amendments (Bill of Rights Institute1, 2010). This was the reason of urgency in introducing the legislation when the first congress met. The Bill of Rights is important because it guarantees what are termed the natural or inalienable rights of people. In the US Declaration of Independence, these rights include “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The ten amendments to the constitution that make up the Bill of Rights describe elements of these natural rights and ensure that the government cannot enact any laws that contravene these rights of the people. (Bill of Rights Institute 2, 2010). Though most people would name the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of speech, religion, assembly as the most important, the Fourth Amendment which protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure has greater importance in distinguishing the US from a totalitarian state. ...
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