Thomas Jefferson once said, Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves… With the infringement of individual rights of the people, can America still be thought of as the land of the free and the home of the brave? To prevent this from happening, the framers of the Constitution has introduced a solution where we would have a powerful and stable government, but not too powerful enough to take away the freedoms and liberties of the people. On December 15, 1791, the United States government ratified their laws by introducing the Bill of Rights. Therefore, with the creation of the Bill of Rights, this became the first step of American civilization and made what America is today. Each amendment in the Bill of Rights highlights the importance of the rights of the American public and guarantees civil rights to the individual, protects the rights of the accused, and limits government powers.
First, the Bill of Rights guarantees the civil rights and liberties of each American. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights emphasizes the importance of civil rights of an individual through five basic liberties. It is the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the freedom to petition. The first part of the First Amendment, the freedom of religion, is necessary to prevent any political corruption. The founding fathers supported the separation of the state and church and ensured that the federal government would not interfere with the people’s practice of religion. Additionally, the freedom of speech and press allows the people to communicate freely, and to publicly express their views using media and publishing in newspapers. Also, the freedom to assemble and petition allows the citizens to assemble peaceably by petitioning the government to amend any injustices and changes needed within the government. We are blessed with these rights, and it is our responsibility to take advantage of them. Given these rights, we should all remember and respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
Second, an important aspect of the Bill of Rights is the equality of justice and the protection for people being accused of crimes. The Fifth Amendment requires a person accused of a crime, to first be indicted by a grand jury. Additionally, the Fifth Amendment protects the accused from being tried twice for the same offense (known as double jeopardy) and guarantees against self-incrimination. The framers of the Constitution ensured to include the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights because of the many unfairness and injustices that has happened in England. With this in mind, the framers of the Constitution devised an amendment that protects people’s basic civil rights from unjust governments. Given these benefits, we as Americans should respect and obey federal, state, and local laws. We should also serve on jury when called upon. Also, when it comes to criminal cases, one should not take advantage of self-incrimination and should therefore be honest and truthful. With America remaining a free and prosperous nation, we as Americans should recognize that America is a nation where we should respect and consider the numerous benefits compared to other countries.
Last, the limitation of government powers stands as another symbol and foundation of American ideals. The Ninth Amendment sets forth that all powers claimed by the federal government have to be stated in the Constitution. This Amendment has been misunderstood as being a source of new rights, however, the original purpose was to limit the powers of the federal government rather than to expand them. The Tenth Amendment on the other hand states that 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. Concerned about the dangers of federal government having too much power, the Framers of the Constitution created a limited government with enumerated powers. If Americans are entitled to these rights, one has the duty to support the public authority and respect the laws given. Without liberty, order, and justice, sustained by a good government, society would fall into anarchy causing disruption among others.
The framers of the Constitution established the Bill of Rights in order to guarantee civil rights to the individual, protect the rights of the accused, and limit government powers. The Bill of Rights aided in shaping and defining the country we know today by protecting individual liberties and the rights of the people. Through the Bill of Rights, America is a nation that is bound by shared values of freedom, liberty, and equality. With these freedoms and opportunities, this sets as a reminder to all Americans the commitment and responsibilities needed for this country. Through the Bill of Rights, America can still be known as the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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