<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Other delegates, such as Edmund Randolph of Virginia, disapproved of the Constitution because it created a new federal judicial system. Their fear was that the federal courts would be too far away from where those who were tried lived. State courts were located closer to the homes of both plaintiffs and defendants, and it was believed that judges and juries in state courts could better understand the actions of those who appeared before them. In response to these fears, the federal government created federal courts in each of the states as well as in Maine, which was then part of Massachusetts, and Kentucky, which was part of Virginia.

Pauline Maier. 2010. Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution , 1787-1788. New York: Simon&Schuster, 464.

Perhaps the greatest source of dissatisfaction with the Constitution was that it did not guarantee protection of individual liberties. State governments had given jury trials to residents charged with violating the law and allowed their residents to possess weapons for their protection. Some had practiced religious tolerance as well. The Constitution, however, did not contain reassurances that the federal government would do so. Although it provided for habeas corpus and prohibited both a religious test for holding office and granting noble titles, some citizens feared the loss of their traditional rights and the violation of their liberties. This led many of the Constitution’s opponents to call for a bill of rights and the refusal to ratify the document without one. The lack of a bill of rights was especially problematic in Virginia, as the Virginia Declaration of Rights was the most extensive rights-granting document among the states. The promise that a bill of rights would be drafted for the Constitution persuaded delegates in many states to support ratification.

Maier, Ratification , 431.

Thomas jefferson on the bill of rights

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson carried on a lively correspondence regarding the ratification of the Constitution. In the following excerpt (reproduced as written) from a letter dated March 15, 1789, after the Constitution had been ratified by nine states but before it had been approved by all thirteen, Jefferson reiterates his previously expressed concerns that a bill of rights to protect citizens’ freedoms was necessary and should be added to the Constitution:

“In the arguments in favor of a declaration of rights, . . . I am happy to find that on the whole you are a friend to this amendment. The Declaration of rights is like all other human blessings alloyed with some inconveniences, and not accomplishing fully it’s object. But the good in this instance vastly overweighs the evil. . . . This instrument [the Constitution] forms us into one state as to certain objects, and gives us a legislative&executive body for these objects. It should therefore guard us against their abuses of power. . . . Experience proves the inefficacy of a bill of rights. True. But tho it is not absolutely efficacious under all circumstances, it is of great potency always, and rarely inefficacious. . . . There is a remarkeable difference between the . . . Inconveniences which attend a Declaration of rights,&those which attend the want of it. . . . The inconveniences of the want of a Declaration are permanent, afflicting&irreparable: they are in constant progression from bad to worse.”
Letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, March 15, 1789, https://www.gwu.edu/~ffcp/exhibit/p7/p7_1text.html.

What were some of the inconveniences of not having a bill of rights that Jefferson mentioned? Why did he decide in favor of having one?

Questions & Answers

what's the difference between a Senate house and the parliament
Irene Reply
wat is decentralization
Irene Reply
Good question? its another way of emphasizing locality as a first principle value. assumed is self suffiency, sustainability, redundancy in critical systems but most of all it represents an individual citizens liberty; our rights, a dependence from and freedom from centralized power.
Lance
tnx
Irene
it's also assumed that this freedom is critical to our ability and advantages to be resilient. our full capacity to adapt w out any headwinds or yoke from an over reaching central world power as found in empires and dynasties or for example global neoliberalism virus.
Lance
Is it possible for a serious third party to emerge in the United States, positioned ideologically between the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right? Why or why not?
Richard Reply
meaning of civil service
Omohowho Reply
create the most between the competing value of indivualism and limited government
Dora Reply
civil liberties basic freedoms while civil rights are basic right to free from discrimination based on characteristics of race, disability, color national origin, gender, and other..
Sexy Reply
yes I think so
Omohowho
what is the categories of federalism
Official Reply
hi
Austin
yh
Irene
what is racism
Favour Reply
international political economy
Diana Reply
I'm not sure what this app is again, I'm over worked, tired, alone and I have a slight cold. my neighbor jumped me and sucker punched me yesterday, and today I'm trying to keep the tooth that took the hit. My exwife is in jail, her trailer impounded, and the dogs are @ The City Pound. 😢😥😴
Shannon
you sure it's a cold 😷 not covid 19
Don
well I think the Real Truth About COVID-19 Is... Alchohol, the info and numbers all line up. AA has infiltrated the US Government. And Since I'm Getting into Recovery for Drugs and I'm No longer an Alcoholic, it's a conspiracy to keep me from using Alchohol to aid in my Drug Recovery. But ....
Shannon
let's just keep this between us. ;) No Ask No Tell, OK?
Shannon
I know nothing but here's a little secret from a recovering alcoholic/addict once an alcoholic always an alcoholic you can treat the symptoms but never be cured I wish you the best of luck tho my friend if you ever need someone to help you through a rough spot let me know
Don
Ya shuts this is coming to me from an government app you'll help me right dawn on to my face and then laugh at me and say you bring it all on your self I'll be sure to call on you when I need help like to 200.00 a month and can't work the help you already give me shure thing
Luretta
what's are the features,merits and demerits of power
Emmanuela Reply
the most loyal supporters of democrats are
Paulina Reply
the intent to push polls is to
Ivan Reply
I cannot seem to find a clear answer to why the house is stronger than the senate, and every guess I make the check answer says is wrong.
girunit Reply
What is foreign policy
WONDERS Reply
What is government
WONDERS
What is a supreme court
WONDERS
Who is a solicitor
WONDERS
Three majors the National Liberation council adopted to transfer powers to the civilian government
Boateng
What is bureaucracy
WONDERS Reply

Get the best American government course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'American government' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask