The document they sent to the states for ratification in 1787 had little to say on the subject.That surprised John Adams, then in England, who wrote to Thomas Jefferson, then in Paris, “What think you of a Declaration of Rights? ” Jefferson agreed: he found much to like about the new plan for a federal government, but he objected to “the omission of a bill of rights.” He wrote to his fellow Virginian, James Madison, the Constitution’s primary author, that “a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no government should refuse, or rest on inference.” Events proved that Adams and Jefferson, from across the Atlantic, were more in tune with popular opinion than the members of the Constitutional Convention.Tags: Pre Writing College EssayShort Essay On Education And DisciplineHamlet Madness EssayDownload Free Business Plan SoftwarePurpose Of Business PlanEssay About SquealerA Good Thesis Statement For NutritionAssignment Of Cause Of ActionEssays On Shrek
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The arguments over the Bill of Rights were sometimes bitter, beginning with whether the federal government should protect individual rights at all.
The framers considered opening the Constitution with a list of natural rights, following the lead of most of the state constitutions, but decided against it.
“Why,” asked Alexander Hamilton in “Federalist 84,” “declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?
” After all, the Constitution does not guarantee the right to food or drink, but no one feels the need to protect them from federal interference.
The compromise proved effective, winning over enough holdouts to secure a Federalist victory.
The states agreed to ratify the Constitution if the first Congress would set to work on a catalog of fundamental rights.