The American constitution as it is today has been through a series of tumultuous events. Americas relation with Britain, its colonial master, has seen phases of rosy relations that turned rocky to frosty within a relatively short span of time. This paper is an attempt to explore the events, issues and ideas that have led to the preparation of the Constitution and the succeeding ratification of the Bill of Rights by the founding fathers. In this paper, I will also try to dig out the intentions of the founding fathers when they were ratifying the Constitution and adopting the Bill of Rights.
The years 1763-1775 witnessed a period of brewing crisis between America and its colonial masters, Britain. This tension came about as a result of the formulation of Acts by Britain that did not go down well with the American colony. Some of these Acts, such as the Quartering Act demanded that the colonists should pay for the houses inhabited by British judges and customs officials. It was met with revolt. Tension heightened with both sides trading accusations and name calling, the Britons calling the Americans factious, turbulent people while the Americans referred to the Britons as instruments of tyranny.' This state of relations kept on going south with massacres and violence witnessed now and then. This eventually led to America declaring their independence from Britain, who was not willing to grant. The result was bloodshed for freedom, which they won.
Having won the war, there was now the question of what next. Was the young nation going to prosper and enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy or was it going to succumb to anarchy and chaos? A choice had to be made. The Constitution was meant to create an environment of order, where no one would come up with policies that would oppress the other; where aggrieved parties could access justice as per the stipulates of the Constitution. The founding fathers came up with a Constitution to steer the young nation into a model democracy. It was the intent of the founding fathers to have a nation of hardworking citizens, eager to work for the well-being of the others and not for the selfish interests of amassing wealth for ones own personal gain. Benjamin Franklin, in addressing an issue raised about what America could offer to Europe replied in an essay that the Europeans should keep their imperious landlords on the other side of the Atlantic and send hearty young laboring men who were to enhance Americas resources and not to amass them for their own. According to him, America was not a land of ease where entitled gentlemen regarded labor as for the inferior class. It was the land of opportunities for the hardworking. The ratification of the Bill of Rights was aimed at ensuring that subsequent governments would not sabotage the rights and liberties of the citizens that they had shed their blood fighting for from the British. The Bill of Rights, just like the constitution, should be read to judge the intent of its spirit with issues going on at a particular time.
The adoption of the Constitution and the subsequent ratification of the Bill of Rights have shaped the foundations of America as the epitome of democracy, the land of the free and the land of opportunities. It is no wonder that America has remained a stable nation despite the many challenges it has faced. That America has grown a robust economy thanks to the ideals of hard work, courage and bravery instilled on the citizens by the founders. That America is the biggest advocate of human rights because it understands and appreciates the struggles to freedom and the benefits it avails.
"Making The Revolution: America, 1763-1791, Primary Sources For Teachers, America In Class, National Humanities Center". 2016. Americainclass.Org. http://americainclass.org/sources/makingrevolution/.
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