The Bill of Rights and Its Historical Meaning
The adoption of the US Constitution was a significant step in the history of American nation. It did not contain provisions guaranteeing civil, religious, and political rights for new country’s inhabitants. This was inequitable state of affairs that triggered the movement for democratization. The first 10 amendments were entered to balance the situation. The 10 amendments became the most significant part of the US Constitution as they recognized natural and inalienable rights, first of all, the right to liberty and equality. This was a first document dedicated to the rights and freedoms of citizens. Legal documents more indicated the restriction of human rights prior to that. The adoption of 10 amendments was a tremendous leap in the development of the American society. It was not merely a new legal document, but the shift of emphasis from the restriction of people’s liberty to free will defense. This document was a positive precedent giving an example to other countries.
The human right to self-expression proclaimed in the First Amendment is one of the key freedoms in one’s life. This is the key right in everyone’s life. Today, this right seems to be quite obvious; however, most people were deprived of it for centuries and even millennia. One can only guess what life is like without the right to freely express one’s ideas, build the views, and freely share them with other people. The world would not be so multifarious if there were no such right. After all, with the free expression of ideas, one can learn a lot of new views as well as unusual ways of perceiving the surrounding reality and influencing the world. The freedom to express ideas and correct what you do not like in the world leads to development. There would not be such a huge number of inventions in the world if people did not have the right to talk about what they discovered or invented.
The Second Amendment concerning the right to bear arms is a very controversial question, in my opinion. There is no doubt that every person has the right to defend his/her life and well-being, but the function of the government is to keep order. I believe that problems need to be identified in advance to eliminate the possibility of committing crimes and causing harm to people. The permission to carry weapon also allows irresponsible people to frivolously use firearms. A simple conflict can turn into an armed conflict with the availability of arms. Today the ability to solve problems through diplomacy becomes more and more significant because humanity already has a negative experience of war. Brute force is a retrograde step of dealing with challenges.
It is a time of peace now, and ensuring protection and confidence is an important task for government. The Third Amendment is about respecting the right for private space. A person usually gets frustrated without having a private sphere. Preventing government from forcing homeowners to allow soldiers to use their homes is intrinsic part of the privacy right.
The Fourth Amendment is a big step in increasing the role of each individual, and its existence gives confidence in possessing what a person earned. This right allows every citizen of the country to feel more significant, this amendment is a shift away from the perception of people as an impersonal mass. Self-awareness of the whole nation increases when each its member feels more confident. The protection of private property is a constructive step for the development of mankind as a whole because it stimulates people to work, promising worthy encouragement for their efforts.
The Fifth Amendment results from every human’s right to defend his/her position. Grand jury’s presence is necessary for correct convictions in serious criminal charges because the more complex the problem is, the more efforts one needs to make to find solution to it. I also share the opinion that it is unfair to blame a person twice for one and the same crime or force a citizen to incriminate himself because it contradicts the right to free self-expression.
How a nation treats its citizens shows the level of its development. Respect for every person is an integral feature of a healthy society and developed nation. The respect of this kind is provided by the Sixth Amendment. If a citizen mistaken and committed a crime, he/she still has the right to the fast, public, and fair trial. It is important to give everyone an opportunity to change thus showing the best way of treating people.
A jury trial in Federal civil cases provided by the Seventh Amendment is a design pitch in the direction of escaping preconception. Impartial jury guarantees the most probable fair court process and decision-making process. Every person should be confident in having the best conditions for solving their problem, which is an important step of increasing consciousness of every citizen.
The Eighth Amendment regulates the measure of punishment, it should correspond the scale of the committed crime. Different crimes vary by offence severity. Probably, some people should stand off the society for a time; in other cases, it may be enough to impose a penalty. It would not be fair to punish everybody in a similar way.
The world is diverse and has more case scenarios than can be foreseen in any document. It is important to realize that human rights are much wider than any, even the most detailed regulations. The Ninth Amendment is the guarantee and reminder of the described above thoughts. It is important to defend one’s rights and think about them in order to have a good life. If one shifts responsibility for listing his freedoms and opportunities on the government, he misses out the freedom of choice.
State’s powers are specified in the Tenth Amendment. The Constitution describes the sphere of influence of the federal government. Cases that were not mentioned in the Constitution should be considered by the states themselves, which adds them more authority. Awareness of one’s own responsibility creates the sense of pride in the right of making a decision. The necessity of problem solving skills mobilizes people to take responsibility for preparing themselves to emergencies.
Mankind has reached the new stage of its development when personal rights started playing a central role. An important step to ensure personal rights and freedoms in the United States was to consolidate them in 10 amendments to the Constitution. Further steps in development of the nation would not be possible without asserting personal rights specified in the Bill of Rights. At no time in the past, the legal documents were focused on the rights of every person and citizen. This is a great leap and a constructive example of new historical step in the development of nation and the whole world. Giving more liberty to citizens leads to greater abundance of ideas, which certainly has a positive impact on the development of country in general. The Bill of Rights as an important development of the democratic traditions of the American people signified the victory of American democracy and became example for legal documents in other countries in the world.
“The Bill of Rights: A Transcription.” National Archives, n.d., https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights. Accessed 10 Oct. 2017.