The Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment


Why were the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights—added to the U.S. Constitution?

The Bill of Rights were added to the Constitution in part because many people wanted them to ensure protection from this new, strong federal government created by the new Constitution. The two leading political parties of the time were the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. The Federalists generally supported a very strong central government, while the Anti-Federalists showed more concern for the rights of individual state governments. The issue of the Bill of Rights was not a huge issue at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 when the Constitution was created. Representative George Mason raised the issue, but it was quickly defeated.

However, the Bill of Rights became a huge political issue during the ratification debates in certain states. Eventually, supporters of the Constitution and ratification in a few states were able to secure ratification of the new Constitution only by promising that there would soon be the addition of a Bill of Rights.


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