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Altogether, the Constitution has only been amended 17 times since the Bill of Rights, and one of those amendments (the 21st) was done just to repeal another (the 18th, known as Prohibition).
The first 10 changes to the Constitution were easy. Since then, it has been an uphill battle every time, and some of those battles are, at least technically, still undecided.
Amendments - US - Constitution - Course - Bill
We are speaking of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and those first 10 are, of course, better known as the Bill of Rights.
They provide some of the most important guarantees of freedom associated with the U.S. Constitution — even though they were added years after the Constitution was first written in the summer of 1787.
Framers - Constitution - Freedom - Press - Freedom
It wasn't that the framers of the Constitution didn't believe in freedom of the press or freedom of religion — or the right to own guns or have a fair trial.
They clearly did.
Framer - James - Madison - Rights - Constitution
But many, including influential framer James Madison, believed these rights were implicit in the Constitution itself (and in the constitutions of the individual states). Madison and others considered a separate catalog of rights unnecessary and potentially troublesome because of what it might omit.
In the process of ratifying that new Constitution 230 years ago, the founders got some pushback from the states. There was popular demand for spelling out citizens' freedoms and rights explicitly — so as to make them as clear and inviolable as the Constitution itself.
Congress - Madison - Member - House - Virginia
So, when the first Congress met in 1789, Madison himself (a member of the House from Virginia) brought forth a package of 12 amendments — formally introduced just six weeks after George Washington had taken the oath as the first president.
These "further declaratory and restrictive clauses" were soon passed with two-thirds votes of the House and the Senate. Ten of these were ratified in short order by...
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