Drafted by James Madison as a response to calls for
heightened protection in the constitution for individual liberties, the Bill of
Rights puts a multitude of limitations on the power of the government. One of
many points that Federalists and Anti-Federalists argued over was the lack of a
bill of rights, placing limits on the power of the government. Federalists
pushed that the Constitution did not need it, since the people and the states
kept all powers that were not given to the government. Anti-Federalists
proposed that it was required to protect individual liberty. Some predecessors
to the Bill of Rights include the Magna Carta, English Bill of Rights, and the
Petition of Right.

The two purposes behind the Bill of Rights was to get the
Constitution ratified, and to limit government power. When the Constitution was
completed, many of the delegates at the Philadelphia Constitutional convention
in 1787 were worried about a powerful central government similar to that in
which they fought to break free from. Many of these delegates wanted to use a
Bill of Rights to prevent the abuse of power, although others felt it unneeded.
Others thought that the government had no authority to grant the people basic
rights, the right to life, liberty, and property. They thought that in doing
so, future governments could remove rights not guaranteed in the Bill of
Rights.

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The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the
Constitution, was drafted by James Madison to protect individual liberties. At
the time, Madison was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and went
through the Constitution, making changes he thought were needed. However, many
people thought that Congress did not have the authority to change the
Constitution, and the changes were then changed to a list of amendments. Of the
amendments sent in, the House of Representatives approved 17, and of the 17,
the Senate approved 12. After being sent to the states for approval, 10 were
ratified.

All in all, the delegates at the Philadelphia Constitutional
convention feared a new government where too much power was put into the
government. They had thought it would lead to the same oppression that they had
recently done away with by means of war. James Madison went through the Constitution,
making changes where appropriate, which then turned into amendments as the
Constitution itself could not be changed. Ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, managed
to become amendments to the U.S. Constitution, effectively limiting the power
of the government. Viewed as unnecessary by many, this became the foundation of
individual rights and liberties. 

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