Most Americans will wholeheartedly proclaim of the Constitution is the most important document in our national history - and they're right.
But the fact is that the Bill of Rights is what really clinched the Constitution as a long-lasting document and secured many of the rights all Americans enjoy.
Let’s go over four reasons why the Bill of Rights is more important than you think.
4. The Bill of Rights Prevents Imperialism
At its core, the Bill of Rights was designed as an ancillary document to the Constitution to prevent the fledgling United States’ federal government from acquiring too much power over its future voters.
During the Constitutional convention and following political meetings, huge debates were held over what role the federal government would play and how individuals with exercise their right to change their leaders if necessary.
By itself, the Constitution does little to nothing to outline and protect the rights of individuals. This would have left the federal government with most of the power, had the Bill of Rights not been created.
3. It Explicitly Outlines the Rights of Individuals
The Constitution, for all its elegance, only concerns itself with outlining the rules and powers of the federal government. It establishes the three branches of government, what those branches can and cannot do, and so on.
But it doesn’t, for instance, describe or guarantee the rights to free speech, freedom of religion, and more.
The Bill of Rights, instead, outlines all of those individual rights and liberties.
The reason we Americans enjoy so many freedoms is that the Bill of Rights explicitly says we can.
2. The Bill of Rights Avoids the Government from Taking “Unassigned” Powers
Perhaps even more importantly, the Bill of Rights establishes that any unassigned or unspoken of powers or freedoms not assigned to the federal government are automatically given to the people or state governments.
This was designed to prevent the federal government from becoming more powerful over time. Instead, any new questions of liberty or individual rights must be delegated to the states or the people .
1. It Allows for Amendments to Be Made (Relatively) Easily
The Bill of Rights, additionally, is the reason why amendments can be relatively easily added or retracted from the Constitution.
We say “relatively” because it’s still a time and legislatively-intense process that often takes months or years.
But given that making or retracting an amendment has huge consequences, this is only appropriate. Regardless, the Bill of Rights is the reason why anymore Americans have freedoms than they did before.
For instance, when the Bill of Rights was first introduced, only white, male landowners of a certain age could vote. The Bill of Rights, since it is comprised of the first 10 amendments, showed the process for amending the Constitution and established a precedent for later amendments, like those that allowed women and people of color to vote.
Bill of Rights first introduced; Only white, male landowners of a certain age could vote.
15th Amendment passed; Right to vote cannot be denied due to race.
19th Amendment passed; Right to vote extended to women.
Ultimately, the Bill of Rights is just as important as the overall Constitution.
Without it, the federal government would have vastly more power than it already does and the rights of the individual would be in constant jeopardy.
Thank you for reading, United We Stand.