Why Did Our Forefathers Write the Bill of Rights?
While I support all things Trump, I was disappointed when Judge Gorsuch did not mention what our forefathers told us. They actually did tell us why they wrote the Bill of Rights. How many people even know there is a Preamble to the Bill of Rights. Some of the small reprints of our Constitution and Bill of Rights don’t even include the Preamble.
In my book, “A Charter of Negative Liberties, Defining The Bill of Rights and Other Commentary,” I do my best to show you where they gave us the answer:
“The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution and was ratified on December 15, 1791.
To understand the meaning of the Bill of Rights, we must first remind ourselves of why our forefathers wrote it. As each amendment is read, we must keep in mind the reason it was written. To interpret the Bill of Rights in any other context is to undermine its true meaning. Most of the amendments are directly linked to charges made against King George in the Declaration of Independence.
I believe our forefathers tried to tell us why they wrote the Bill of Rights by including the reason in the first clause of the Preamble. It is as if they knew that someday there would be a Barack Obama, who would take the entire concept of a people having a constitution, which defines the organizational structure of the federal government, with its limited authority, and misconstrue it and abuse it.
Clause one of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights:
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent the misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”
So why was it written? One phrase tells us: “in order to prevent the misconstruction or abuse of its powers.”
With this phrase, our forefathers were telling us why they wrote the Bill of Rights. They feared the possibility of anyone incorrectly interpreting (“misconstruction”) the Constitution. They also did not want any misconstruction to lead to the federal government abusing its limited powers.
They wrote the Bill of Rights to protect the “political” freedom of the people from the newly created federal government. Political Freedom?
Yes, political freedom, because the Bill of Rights and the Constitution are political documents that define political freedom for all Americans.
The Bill of Rights does not restrict the people or the states in any way; it does, however, restrict the federal government. About that, Mr. Obama is correct.
It is true that the Bill of Rights protects the people’s political freedom and does not address anything else, especially moral issues. Our forefathers were very cognizant of leaving out moral issues in a political document.
The Constitution does not say it is against the law to rob a bank. The Constitution does not say it is against the law to murder your neighbor. The Constitution does not say it is against the law to sell or use drugs. It does not say anyone has to believe in God or be a Christian. It does not say anything about marriage, nor does the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights does not say these things because these are moral issues, and the Bill of Rights was not written to address moral issues. The Bill of Rights was written to address political freedom for the people and to set limits of power for a federal government. I cannot stress enough that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are political documents, not a moral ones.
Moral issues are covered by an individual’s conscience and religion and by laws passed by local or state communities and can change as the moral culture changes, for better or for worse. What I mean is, from the federal government’s perspective, moral issues are not addressed in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, and ergo those issues are off limits to the federal government.
Over time, as morality changes, it is the laws enacted by the people at the community, county, and state level that are intended to handle changes in moral values. If the people of California vote to approve or ban gay marriage, the Constitution does not give the federal government any authority to intervene for or against it. Marriage is not a political freedom issue. Likewise, the federal government has not been granted the power to impose itself upon any state policy regarding murder, robbery, drugs, or any other issue of moral law.
Therefore it is given:
The Bill of Rights was written to protect the states’ and the people’s political freedom from a federal government, and the Bill of Rights is not a moral values document.
Only with this in mind can any person start to understand the Bill of Rights.
It seems like a simple request, but there are those among the American people who cannot leave well enough alone and constantly try to bend the meaning of whichever amendment they are interested in bending in order to provide any answer they deem most convenient. While trying to interpret the Bill of Rights or the Constitution, they will introduce other documents, letters, or any other works written by our forefather, to decipher a new meaning—a “truer” meaning in the words, sentences, and paragraphs that make up the Bill of Rights.
It does not matter what any single forefather thought prior to the final adoption of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There were many arguments and debates during its creation—everyone had his opinion, but everyone didn’t get his way.
The result of every opinion is the words placed on the actual completed and approved Bill of Rights.
At this point, it will do the reader good to again read that first clause of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights:
“THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent the misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.” (italics mine)
The “further declaratory and restrictive clauses” they added “to prevent the misconstruction or abuse of its powers” is the Bill of Rights.”
So what do you think? Should he have read my book?