The American Constitution A Historical Background Essay — страница 3
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ratifying conventions approached their task. One remarkable note to the ratification process was the lack of controversy aroused by the arrangements in the constitution affecting slavery. (Robinson pp. 234-235). Massachusetts was the first state to hold full scale debates on the issues involved. Issues discussed were grand jury indictment and how it would be required before a trial for major crimes. Congress would not have the power to establish commercial monopolies, and powers not assigned to the government were reserved for the states. Massachusetts ratified the constitution on January 9, 1788 by a narrow margin. Other states followed. Congress waited for Virginia and New York, and on September 13, 1788, acknowledged that the necessary ratification s had been given, set the dates for the election and the meeting of the Electoral College. New York was to be the seat of the new government and on March 4, 1789 was set as the official start of the new federal regime. (Caughey p 131). The original ten amendments of the United States Constitution gave us our Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights give us the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. The state also has the right to maintain a militia; it is not to quarter soldiers upon people. It also disallows general search warrants. (Caughey p. 135). Other amendments are addressed more directly to protecting each resident of the United States against arbitrary and unreasonable treatment by his or her government. One only needs to read the Preamble of the Constitution to know what the framers set out to give the people of our great nation: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Works Cited 1. United States. Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. Washington, D.C.; GPO 1996. 2. Robinson, L. Donald. Slavery in the Structure of American Politics 1765-1920. New York: Jovanovich, Inc., 1971. 3. Grolier Electronic Publishing Encyclopedia. CD ROM 1995. 4. Caughey, W. John. A History of the United States. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1964. 5. America On-line. Internet Service.