The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights – Essay Example

The paper "The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights" is an excellent example of an essay on history. The Bill of Rights, which is made up of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, is the cornerstone of American democracy and is the symbol of the freedom guaranteed to its citizens. James Madison created this document as part of the Constitution to ensure the basic rights of people and to protect the concepts of religious freedom, the right to bear and keep arms, right to a free press, right to trial by a jury and several other such clauses which ensure that the people are given the right to exercise their free will. These rights were specifically laid down to give the states the security against any excesses by the government and for the last 200 years, they have ensured the fundamental rights of the citizens. Manifest Destiny was the name given to America’s expansionist plans, for control of territory from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean as well as the propagation of its democratic ideals and Protestant beliefs. John L. O'Sullivan, an editor of United States Magazine and Democratic Review coined the term in 1845 when he wrote that it was “our manifest destiny to overspread the Continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” This belief propelled the pioneers to move in all directions and pursue their economic objectives, which brought prosperity and plenty to the young nation, but it was marred by an indiscriminate killing of Native Americans amounting to genocide. The political landscape of the America of the 1800s was characterized by the struggle for freedom from the oppression of society, be they towards other men, as seen in slavery or towards women, manifested in the denial of suffrage to them. Three of the towering personalities of this period William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and Elizabeth Cady-Stanton, stood as vanguards of the movement to restore to men and women, the right to live with respect and dignity. Garrison stood for "immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves" and was a pacifist, whose effort was to achieve emancipation through temperance. Stanton’s main focus was on reforms but with a feminist view, where women’s suffrage was given priority while Frederick Douglass, a former slave supported the abolitionists and suffragettes. All three were staunch supporters of liberty and they shared with each other the desire to change the exploitation of men and women.