Constitution of the United States

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What is the difference between the Bill of Rights and the Constitution?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Bill of Rights consists of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

The Constitution as it stood was a controversial document. During the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, many delegates—who were known as Anti-Federalists—were worried that it gave far too much power to the Federal government. The Americans had just successfully fought a war against what they regarded as the tyranny of the British. The last thing they wanted to see was the reestablishment of a strong, centralized government, which—like British colonial government—could ride roughshod over Americans' liberties.

So, in order to assuage the Anti-Federalists' concerns, a series of amendments were made to the Constitution, guaranteeing certain rights against the Federal government, such as the right to free speech (the First Amendment), the right to bear arms (the Second Amendment), and the right not to be compelled to be a witness...

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