The Bill of Rights including the First Amendment, protecting freedom of speech and press, was written to protect us against the wrongs that might otherwise be done against citizens, by an oppressive government or by a willful majority against a weaker minority or individual.
The U.S. Constitution replaced the colonies’ Articles of Confederation, declaring the Articles ineffective, making it necessary, the Federalists insisted, to re-create our government, so that we might survive as an independent nation.
We formed a government divided into three departments, each with specified powers and responsibilities, separated one from the other, a federal government.
But the Constitution, created in Philadelphia, said nothing about the individual rights reserved to the people.
Some called the Constitution a “gilded trap” created by the aristocratic elements and charged it was anti-democratic.
An anti-federalist from Massachusetts wrote under the assumed name, John DeWitt, “[t]hat the want of a Bill of Rights to accompany this proposed system [of federalism], is a solid objection to it ….” Continue reading