Why where the first 10 amendments to the Constitution added?

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An amendment is a written change, an addition to an earlier rule or idea, which begs the question: why was there a need to amend the Constitution only two years after it was ratified?

The anti-federalists had always wanted a specific Bill of Rights in the original document, but by 1789 they had already been deliberating for almost two years, and there was the distinct possibility that the convention could break up without agreement on any document at all.  Through considerable lobbying by key Federalists, they were able to convince Jefferson and Madison to wait on the Bill of Rights until after ratification, then Washington and Franklin helped them push it through Congress and the states by 1791.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first ten amendments to the Constitution, better known as the Bill of Rights, were added to the Constitution to allay the fears of opponents of the Constitution, commonly known as Anti-Federalists.

The Anti-Federalists feared that the national government, if given more power the way the Constitution proposed, would abuse the rights of the people.

The Federalists, who favored the Constitution, needed Anti-Federalist votes to ensure that the Constitution would get ratified.  So they added the Bill of Rights to guarantee that the new stronger federal government would not be able to trample people's rights.

stacyrch2015 | Student

When the United States was in its infancy, Federalists (those in favor of a strong federal government) recognized the need for a centralized government. They wanted to create a Constitution, a document to codify the rights and responsibilities of the government's three branches. They wanted the Constitution adopted.

To do this, they needed the states to ratify the Constitution. Hence, they needed the votes of Anti-federalists, who were generally against the idea of a strong central government. Anti-federalists were opposed to ratification without several amendments guaranteeing the protection of certain individual rights from the federal government, lest it become too powerful. The Constitution required nine states to ratify it, and several did only on the condition that a bill of rights be added. The Bill of Rights was passed shortly after the Constitution's ratification.

Wiggin42 | Student

The first 10 amendments of the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. They were added to assuage Ant-Federalist fears that a strong federal government will tramp on the rights of the people. Federalists would argue that rights don't need to be explicitly given or stated in this manner on the very definition that they are, in fact, rights.

parama9000 | Student

The anti federalists needed the bill as a form of assurance for the Constitution to be ratified lest their opponents abuse the rights of people.

Definition of constitution: a body of fundamental principles according to which a state is governed. In this case, it is to address the concern that the rights of the people to be abused.