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The Making of the Constitution


Part 6: The Bill of Rights

The state constitutions of the 13 colonies had guaranteed certain natural and individual rights to the people and further said that the government existed to protect those rights. But where these rights protected in the Constitution?

The simple answer was nowhere. But James Madison, a Federalist and a delegate from Virginia, played a leading role in getting the newly formed Congress to approve a Bill of Rights. These were the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution.

The Constitution had provided for an Amendment process:

  • Both houses of Congress must approve.
  • Three-fourths of the states must approve.

If both of these things happened, then the Amendment is approved and becomes part of the Constitution. Madison's Bill of Rights--all 10 of them--were approved by Congress and the states.

With the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the new nation had a strong national government that protected the natural and individual rights of its people, could raise taxes and an army, and could make treaties with other nations. The United States of America presented a united front to the rest of the world.

First page > Problems With the Articles > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

 

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday


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