Noah Webster, Noah Hamilton And James Wilson's Argument Against The Bill Of Rights

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During the ratification debates of the US Constitution, there was conversation over the necessity of a bill of rights to define people’s rights and limit the government’s powers. Many federalists believed such a bill of rights would not only be unnecessary, but would weaken the constitution and the people, and give the government powers they should have. Noah Webster, Alexander Hamilton, and James Wilson each make arguments against a bill of rights. Webster argues that a bill of rights may be irrelevant in future generations, but people will be reluctant to change or add to it. Hamilton believes that the bill of rights is unnecessary because the constitution itself is in terms a bill of rights. Wilson and the others all argue most that the …show more content…
Wilson’s crucial point in his speech was “[in state constitutions] everything which is not reserved is given… [in the US constitution] everything which is not given is reserved” (Anti-Federalist 182). Wilson refers directly to enumerated powers in this statement. They all agree that this distinction between the individual states’ and the US constitution is a reason the states need a bill of rights, while the US constitution does not. Essentially, all rights which are not given by the people to the government are reserved by the people. Therefore, the people should not claim rights which they have not allowed the government to regulate because they already belong to the people. Opponents to this argument will say that the powers given in the constitution are too ambiguous and could be poorly construed. They also questioned the harm in having a bill of rights, and believe there is already a truncated bill of rights in the constitution in the protections of individual …show more content…
He says “ that very declaration might have been constructed to imply that some degree of power was given, since we undertook to define its extent” (Anti-federalist 183). He hints at the fact that the government could see this opportunity to take more power which the people did not explicitly give. If the people define each individual right they believe belongs to them, the government will seek to regulate all other rights. Hamilton follows the exact same logic in saying it would “be dangerous...would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted...why declare that things shall not be done, which there is no power to do?” (Hamilton 445). Hamilton agrees with Wilson and makes a bill of rights seem paradoxical, since the Constitution assumes that the government has no power over rights not granted by the people. In the US today, many believe the government has too much power in regulation over many areas, specifically economic regulation. Had a bill of rights never been attached to the constitution, perhaps the government would be more constrained

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