Essay about The Amendment Of Rights By Jack Rakove

1544 Words Nov 17th, 2016 7 Pages
The 18th century was a time of change and reform for Americans. Having gained newfound independence from Great Britain, they now faced the task of coming up with an efficient way to govern themselves. After a long process, both the Constitution, and eventually the Bill of Rights, both emerged and both which are still the governing documents of America today. In Jack Rakove’s book, Declaring Rights, he states that “how Americans thought about bills of rights was a function of how they thought about constitutionalism more generally.” He was correct in his statement; Americans views on constitutionalism did directly affect how they viewed bills of rights. However, Americans had two different views on constitutionalism leading them to have two different views about bills of rights. As a new nation emerged, a new interpretation of the word “constitution” also emerged. What was once “regarded as the mixture of law, custom, conventions of governance and institutions existing at any one moment” were instead “charters creating institutions that would henceforth act under the authority they bestowed.” Under this view, constitutions were now the law of the land, even placing it above the highest official in the government. Because of this, any law enacted by the government had to fall under the guidelines of the Constitution, and if the law were to fall outside the guidelines, it could be deemed unconstitutional. In “Four Letters Interesting Subjects”, the author attempts to…

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