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American History: A Bill of Rights and an Amendment Essay

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Updated: Nov 22nd, 2019

Bill of rights

A bill of rights refers to a legal document that stipulates the rights of a given people. It gives strict guidelines on the privileges that citizens possess in a given country. The document aims at ensuring that the rights and privileges of the citizens are fully respected and accorded due attention.

In the United States, rights, demands and privileges of citizens are outlined with the aim of ensuring that equity, fairness and healthy living of the citizens are upheld. The act focuses on ensuring that the rights and privileges of the citizens are not violated (Vile 106-153).

The law can be written or presumed. In most countries, like the United States, a written law can never be repealed or modified to suit other interests that are not in line with the interests of the citizens. A presumed law becomes a normal statute in any given country and can therefore be changed.

According to Schweikart and Allen (2004: 34-135) the act entails a statement or statements of fundamental human rights and privileges that are crucial for the effective existence and wellbeing of people in a country. Legal amendments of a national or federal state are undertaken in a statutory framework.

An amendment refers to a change of the constitution to address new demands or requirements based on the interests of the state or demands of the citizens. An amendment of a constitution can be undertaken in two major ways. One of the ways is through the use of parliamentary initiatives.

Under this provision, an amendment that is proposed must pass through a senate, national assembly or any legal institution. The law upholds that at least two thirds of the members of the mentioned legal frameworks should approve the change.

An amendment may also be undertaken through a popular initiative. In this instance, the change can be done by ensuring that registered voters in the state or country either vote for or against the amendment through a process that is referred to as a referendum. Before a referendum is undertaken to effect an amendment, it must be drafted into a bill after which it is submitted to the electoral body in charge of elections.

A constitutional amendment aims at positively changing the manner in which the citizens are governed, resources managed and the rights of citizens protected. The amendment is important as it addresses relevant and current legal needs.Schweikart and Allen (387-403) postulate that an amendment is not the whole process of “making of a constitution” but rather, a minor formal addition, change or rectification of a legal provision in a constitutional document that does not alter the legal powers of the new signed document.

The disparities between the two concepts

A bill of rights cannot be altered while an amendment can. An amendment is the actual process of facilitating change or changes in the existing constitution. A bill of rights outlines the rights and privileges of the citizens while an amendment aims at making changes to the existing legal provisions that govern a state or country.

According to Vile (19-53), a bill of rights upholds the justice of all citizens. An amendment does not state the integrity of the citizens. It is worth noting that the bill of rights and amendments operate on a complementary basis.

Works Cited

Schweikart, Larry, and Allen, Michael. A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror, USA: Penguin Group, 2004. Print.

Vile, John. Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments: Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789-2002, USA: Library of Congress, 2003. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "American History: A Bill of Rights and an Amendment." November 22, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/american-history-a-bill-of-rights-and-an-amendment/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'American History: A Bill of Rights and an Amendment'. 22 November.

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