G CS 08

Basic Principles of the U.S. Constitution

Principles related to representative democracy are reflected in the articles and amendments of the U.S. Constitution and provide structure for the government of the United States.

Content Statement

8. The Bill of Rights was drafted in response to the national debate over the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.

Content Elaborations

A key argument during the course of the debate over the ratification of the U.S. Constitution concerned the need for a bill of rights. Federalists pointed to protections included in the original document but Anti-Federalists argued that those protections were inadequate.

To secure sufficient votes in the state ratifying conventions, Federalists pledged to offer a bill of rights once the new government was established. Massachusetts and Virginia, in accord with Anti-Federalist sentiments, went so far as to propose amendments to the Constitution, including amendments to protect the rights of citizens.

The amendments which were ratified in 1791 and became known as the Bill of Rights addressed protections for individual rights (Amendments 1 – 9). These amendments reflect the principle of limited government. The 10th Amendment also addressed the principle of limited government as well as federalism.

Expectations for Learning

Relate one of the arguments over the need for a bill of rights to the wording of one of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.