Civil Liberties -- Criminal Procedure
STATE CONSTITUTIONS adopted in 1776 and in subsequent years invariably contained either a separate bill of rights or other provisions that achieved the same objective. The delegates at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, however, preoccupied with the difficult task of infusing power into the new government, thought the inclusion of a bill of rights both unwise and unnecessary. In The Federalist, No. 84, Hamilton summarized two of the arguments that Madison, Charles Pinckney, James Wilson, and other supporters of the Constitution had repeated endlessly: first, that because the new government's powers were enumerated, no need existed for reciting prohibitions; second, that an attempt to list rights was dangerous since any omissions might seem deliberate. To Hamilton ". . . the Constitution is itself, in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, a Bill of Rights." Madison stated an additional reason for opposing a bill of rights: the fear that the force of contemporary public opinion would compel an excessively narrow definition of religious and other freedoms.
Jefferson, writing to Madison from France, took a different view: "A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth . . . and what no just government should refuse . . ."
When the arguments of the Constitution's supporters proved unavailing against the insistent demands of majorities in six ratifying state conventions and highly vocal minorities in two others, they readily agreed to the addition of the Bill of Rights, thus ensuring ratification.
In the first Congress, Madison, as majority leader, drew up and pressed through both Houses twelve amendments. Some were included because most states had requested them; others, because Madison favored them personally. After a two-year delay, ten of the proposed amendments were ratified.
The first eight amendments, which single out specific rights for protection, may be conveniently divided into three groups. The substantive