With the 219th anniversary of the adoption of the document known as Bill of Rights only hours away, every American who has graduated from high school should be able to explain the original intent of the Amendments in ten minutes or less. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The last thing the statists want is a constitutionally educated populace. Thus, government and the education system it controls continue to distort and hide the true intent of the Amendments.
For many years the statists have been attempting to convince the people of these United States that the document known as the Bill of Rights is the source of their rights and government was granted the power to determine the extent of those rights. Fortunately, there is a quick and simple way to disprove this assertion and show the true intent of the Amendments.
When the Bill of Rights was submitted to the States for ratification it contained a preamble declaring the purpose of the proposed amendments. The preamble contained three paragraphs, but most modern editions of the Bill of Rights, especially those printed by government, only include the third paragraph. This omission is intentional because a reading of the preamble shows that the first paragraph discloses the true intent of the proposed amendments.
“The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its (the federal government’s) 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.”
The sole purpose of the proposed amendments, as stated in the preamble, was to prevent the federal government from “misconstruing or abusing its powers.” To accomplish this, “further declaratory and restrictive clauses“ were being proposed. The amendments, if adopted, would not grant the people any rights or grant the federal government the power to determine the extent of the people’s rights; they would place additional restraints on the powers of the federal government. Each restraint is either a qualified restraint or an out right denial of power.
Based on the wording of the preamble, the amendments would place constitutional prohibitions on the powers of the federal government to prevent that government from “misconstruing or abusing its powers“ concerning the rights of the people.
Another way to illustrate this point was to re-write the Amendments and insert restrictive language into each Amendment except the Tenth. This re-write is structured to preserve the original intent of the Founders as expressed in the preamble to the Bill of Rights
Article I…………………… Congress is expressly denied the power to enact any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Article II…………………… Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the federal government is expressly denied the power to infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.
Article III…………………… The federal government is expressly denied the power to quarter any Soldier in any house, in time of peace, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, except in a manner to be prescribed by law. (This Amendment contains an exception to the restraint and authorizes Congress to enact legislation to qualify the exception.)
Article IV…………………… The federal government is expressly denied the power to infringe on the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the federal government is expressly denied the power to issue Warrants, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Article V…………………… The federal government is expressly denied the power to hold any person to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall the federal government subject any person to a prosecution for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall the federal government compel any person in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor shall the federal government deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall the federal government take private property for public use, without just compensation.
Article VI…………………… In all criminal prosecutions, the federal government is expressly denied the power to negate the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law; nor shall the federal government deny the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; or the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him; or the right to have compulsory process for obtaining Witnesses in his favor, or the right to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Article VII…………………… In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the federal government is expressly denied the power to negate the right to a trial by jury, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any federal Court, than according to the rules of the common law.
Article VIII…………………… The federal government is expressly denied the power to impose excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments.
Article IX…………………… The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to grant the federal government the power to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Article X…………………… The powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Since each Amendment is either a qualified restraint on the exercise of power or an out right denial of power or a combination thereof, the insertion of restrictive phrases like â€œthe federal government is expressly denied the powerâ€ is consistent with the original intent of the Amendments.
As shown by this re-write of the Bill of Rights, none of the Amendments define or limit the extent of the individual rights of the people. The Amendments do, however, define and enumerate the extent of the restraints placed on the powers of the federal government concerning the rights of the people and the powers reserved to the States.
Contrary to popular belief, the Amendments commonly known as the Bill of Rights are simply enumerated restraints on the powers of the federal government and an extension of the system of limited government established by the Constitution.
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