American History

Who is the author?

The Bill of Rights, Ratified December 1791 was authored by James Madison. Madison’s bibliography reflects how experienced he was as far as ratification of the constitution is concerned. For example, between March 16, 1751 and June 28, 1836, Madison served as an American politician and political philosopher. Between 1809 and 1817, he served as the fourth President of the United States. His Bibliography and the various achievements, he contributed to America earned him several names such as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and the Father of Constitution.


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While serving as a member of United States Congress, Madison drafted many basic laws. This earned him another name as the Father of the Bill of Rights, owing to the fact that he was responsible for the first ten amendments to the constitution. Apart from ratifying the Bill of Rights, Madison made a number of achievements in the United States. For example, he supervised the Louisiana Purchase and also sponsored the Embargo Act of 1807 and also led the
America into War in 1812 against Great Britain.

The ultimate aim of the bill or rights is to advocate for the individual liberty. James Madison was a philosopher and he was aware about the importance of liberty James Madison believed that Self-interest, freely followed within sensible limits, was more practical and durable solution to the problem of government than any effort to improve the virtue of the citizenry (Buzzanco, 2010). He wanted, he said, to make republican government possible, “even in the absence of political virtue. Madison’s arguments are majorly guided by his past endeavors. As a philosopher, Madison must have learnt the power of individual liberty. That is why he argued that self-interest that leads people toward factionalism and tyranny might, if properly harnessed by appropriate constitutional arrangements, provide a source of unity and a guarantee of liberty.

What is the author’s historical context? What is going on at the time? What is important?

The excerpt was written and proposed at the time when the constitution was being amended and ratified. It was during this time when the government was using some of its powers excessively. If this was allowed to continue, Americans could have been deficient of freedom of expression and other forms of freedom. Madison, having studied philosophy, found out that self-interest, freely pursued within reasonable limits, was more practical and durable solution to the problem of government than any effort to improve the virtue of the citizenry (Buzzanco, 2010). The excerpt was written at the time when the constitution was being amended and ratified. This was the most crucial time in the history of the United States. It is the time that could shape the fate of the United States.

In fact the current state of the United States is attributable to the efforts made by James Madison and other historians in fighting for the individual rights. James Madison had foreseen a situation where the citizens may not have any freedom and since he was a philosopher, he knew the value of the individual liberty. The excerpt was written mainly to solve and clarify the contention between Federalists and Anti-Federalists concerning the bill of rights. Federalists believed that there was no need of a bill of rights because they assume that the bill of rights was not under the federal government. On the other hand, the anti-Federalists were for the fact that a bill of rights was necessary to safeguard individual liberty. The document was ratified to correct the existing constitution because it lacks the constitutional protection of basic political rights.

What is the audience?

The article targets all the United States citizens. However, the article was presented to the Congresspersons representing various states of America for ratification. This represented the primary audience of the excerpt because it is through the Congress that the citizens can now get the ratified elements. Consequently, it can be said that although the excerpt targets the Congress persons and the citizens, Congress persons represent the primary targets whereas the American citizens represents the secondary target.
What are the main points of the article?

Generally, the article is meant to advocate for and fight for the individual rights of liberty. The main points
relate to different individual freedom that every individual American citizen must be accorded with. However, these rights were broken down into various amendments. For example, Amendment 1 championed for the freedom of speech, peaceful demonstration to petition the government for a redress of protests and freedom of religion (Buzzanco, 2010).

The second amendment championed for the security of individuals in terms of possessing firearms. The third amendment prohibited the security personnel from searching people’s houses without consent and the amendment IV is also on the same line and is against unreasonable searches and seizures. Amendment V calls for due process of law before a person can be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime (Buzzanco, 2010). Amendment VI calls for speedy and public trial for criminal accused of a given crime.

Amendment VII addresses cases related to the common law and amendment VIII prohibits imposition of excessive bail, fines or excess punishments. The last two amendments give the states the power to address other constitutional aspects that may arise and those not delegated to the United States by the Constitution.

Why is the primary source important today? Why is it relevant today?

It is hard to imagine whether the milestone that the United States has made since the ratification of the bill of rights could have been possible if the bill of rights was not ratified. It is indisputable that the bill of rights opened up a lot of opportunities for development and new ways of shaping politics to meet the rights of the individuals.

As a multicultural society, the bill of rights has enabled the United States to realize that all people have equal rights irrespective of whether they come from different ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. There are a number of demonstrations that are normally conducted in the United States to remind the government and its machinery that they need to embrace brotherhood irrespective of racial and ethnic differences.

If the government was allowed to control all rights of individuals United States could not have been where it is today. It could be pursuing authoritarian leadership. Racism could be the order of the day. This is because the whites could kill the blacks easily without fearing the consequences. In the current American, any time a white security kills black, either intentionally or unintentionally, a huge protest is normally organized to denounce the act and to warn the security system of any further killing. It is indisputable that major reforms and development is partly contributed by the constant media criticism.