Why were the first 10 amendments added to the Constitution?

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the time the Constitution was written and submitted to the states for ratification, many so called "Anti-Federalists" opposed it because they felt too much power was given to the new Federal Government. Among them were men like Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Elbridge Gerry, and Sam Adams. They all understood and agreed that a better form of government than the Articles of Confederation had provided; yet they feared what they termed the "tyranny of the majority," would not protect the rights of the minority over the will of the majority. This to them was no better than the tyranny from which they had fought to escape during the Revolutionary War. They did not necessarily wish to abrogate the entire Constitution; yet they did feel that some means of protecting the rights of individuals must be provided.

As a means of assuring the ratification of the Constitution, mollifying the concerns of the anti-federalists, and most importantly to ensure the protection of certain rights of the people from governmental interference, it was agreed that a Bill of Rights would be added to the Constitution immediately. This Bill of Rights constitutes the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and was added to protect individual freedoms and liberties.