The representatives who were very supportive of a strong central government were known as Federalists while Anti-Federalists were very concerned that a Federal Government might overstep its authority. These Anti-Federalists wanted to ensure that all the negatives associated with the monarchy they lived under in England were not part of our new nation. They were concerned that individual rights weren’t defined enough and many of them wouldn’t sign the Constitution which led to the creation of the Bill of Rights (First Ten Amendments).
The Bill of Rights added specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the U.S. Constitution are reserved for the states.
The Bill of Rights is absolutely amazing as it provides us with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to bear arms, right to assembly (which our forefathers did in secret during British rule), etc. It also gives us due process in the court system and prevents unreasonable searches and seizures. Kind of hard to believe but these were all things that our forefathers didn’t have as subjects of the Royal Crown.
I’m not going to discuss all the rights but I would like to address a couple of them such as the First Amendment which is: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I believe it’s very clear that our forefathers didn’t want a national religion like the Church of England which King Henry VIII created so he could get an annulment from his wife (this wasn’t allowed in the Catholic Church), so they used the words: “establishment of religion.” In no way does it read there should be a “separation of church and state.”
The fact is, the Federal and State governments gave money to institutions that were Christian-based like colleges and hospitals dating back to the 1700’s. If they believed in separation of church and state they would’ve never of done this which gives us the intent of the law they wrote.
It wasn’t until 1947 that the Supreme Court interpreted this Amendment to be a separation of church and state. It makes absolutely no sense why they’d make this interpretation as they not only have clear verbiage provided in the Amendment they also have proof of intent. This is when people began complaining that the Supreme Court was legislating from the bench which is the House and Senate’s job, because it completely changed how the law would be applied.
If anyone tells you there’s a separation of Church and State ask him how the actual verbiage in the Amendment of “establishment of a national religion” has anything to do with separation of Church and State. Ask him why for almost 200 years the Federal and State governments gave money to various religious institutions in order to help our citizens (i.e. education, homeless shelters, etc.)? It’s completely clear they didn’t believe in a separation of church and state.
I would also like to point out that Freedom of Speech in politics is much more forgiving when it comes to libel and slander than the rule of law for us in the private sector. This is nothing new as it has been this way since the beginning of our nation as politicians have made outrageous claims about their opponents.
Even if a politician says he or she is going to sue the other candidate how many times have you seen this come to fruition? Lying through libel or slander is an accepted norm in politics and I find this very disturbing because regardless of the political party, they mislead voters, which is unethical.
Unlike what it seems some people believe, Freedom of Speech has its limitation. If we knowingly lie about another person and it negatively affects him or her in some way then we could be held liable in a civil lawsuit. Our Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean we’re allowed to incite violence or endanger other people like yelling “fire” in a movie theater. If someone were hurt trying to flee the theater, the person who yelled “fire” could very easily be held accountable.
A lot of people question what would happen if they said the “N” word. It’s not something that someone would get locked up for but once again a civil suit could be filed with an African American saying he experienced mental duress by the word being said. Whether or not someone would win a lawsuit is certainly up for debate as it depends on how the person used the word and if the one who filed the lawsuit can prove he was in fact hurt in some way by what was said. Quite frankly claiming mental duress would be difficult to prove because the “N” word is prevalent in the African American community. It would be challenging to win a court case by claiming the person is guilty just because the person who said it was white but it’s not out of the question. Basically applying laws based on skin color.
The only court case I could find regarding using the “N” word was an African American employee who filed a lawsuit against her African American boss for using it when he was reprimanding her in front of other employees. People saw her run to the restroom crying over being demeaned so she did win the lawsuit because of the witnesses.
The other thing I’ll mention is a sensitive issue and it’s the 2nd Amendment. Just my opinion but I certainly believe that people have a right to bear arms but I also believe the Federal Government has a right to establish limits on the ammunition and weapons for everyone’s safety. For example, I don’t believe people should be able to purchase armor piercing bullets; the bottom line is why would anyone need them if not for nefarious purposes?
I have concerns about some automatic weapons which are basically like having a machine gun. Automatic weapons worry me for the safety of citizens and law enforcement. I don’t know where to draw the line in the sand on which weapons should be legal so I’ll leave it up to the experts but the bottom line is there are Constitutional limits to gun ownership just like there are limits to Freedom of Speech.
Lastly, the 5th Amendment is where eminent domain came from as our personal property can be taken as long as we receive fair market value. I can see where local governments might need land for infrastructure purposes (i.e. bridges, roads, highways, etc.), but it’s a little tougher to swallow when a private developer can take your land because the city knows they can make more tax revenue off of the various businesses, condominiums, hotels, etc., that would be built.
I don’t think this is what our forefathers had in mind but I certainly can’t argue the point that in many cases the new development helps the community as a whole. It still bothers me though that someone can be made to sell their home; it just doesn’t seem ethical.
Hopefully this was a good reminder about how the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution came together. I’m so glad that Anti-Federalists like James Madison and Patrick Henry were around to define our rights as citizens and ensure the Federal Government had its limitations but as we’ve seen it has become more powerful over time, none more so in my opinion than with Executive Powers and the Supreme Court. Boundaries are being overstepped and I hope the people pushing them are put in check.