Dating bill of rights
Two more states were needed; Virginia’s ratification, on December 15, 1791, made the Bill of Rights part of the Constitution.
(Ten amendments were ratified; two others, dealing with the number of representatives and with the compensation of senators and representatives, were not.) On their face, it is obvious that the amendments apply to actions by the federal government, not to actions by the states. Baltimore, Chief Justice John Marshall confirmed that understanding.
Thanks largely to the efforts of James Madison, the Bill of Rights officially became part of the Constitution in December 1791. In 1215 England’s King John, under pressure from rebellious barons, put his seal to Magna Carta, which protected subjects against royal abuses of power.
The roots of the Bill of Rights–the first ten amendments to the U. Among Magna Carta’s more important provisions are its requirement that proceedings and prosecutions be according to “the law of the land”–the forerunner of “due process of law”–and a ban on the sale, denial, or delay of justice.
Barron had sued the city for damage to a wharf, resting his claim on the Fifth Amendment’s requirement that private property not be taken for public use “without just compensation.” Marshall ruled that the Fifth Amendment was intended “solely as a limitation on the exercise of power by the government of the United States, and is not applicable to the legislation of the states.” The Civil War and Reconstruction brought, in their wake, the Fourteenth Amendment, which declares, among other things, that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” In those few words lay the seed of a revolution in American constitutional law.
This new Constitution provides for increased federal authority while still protecting the basic rights of its citizens.After the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Founding Fathers turned to the composition of the states’ and then the federal Constitution.