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Constitutional Law

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Mark Graber

Enumerated rights

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Enumeration And Other Constitutional Strategies For Protecting Rights: The View From 1787/1791, Mark A. Graber Jul 2008

Enumeration And Other Constitutional Strategies For Protecting Rights: The View From 1787/1791, Mark A. Graber

Mark Graber

This paper interprets the constitution of 1791 in light of the constitution of 1787. The persons responsible for the original constitution thought they had secured fundamental rights by a combination of representation, the separation of powers, and the extended republic. The Bill of Rights, in their view, was a minor supplement to the strategies previously employed for preventing abusive government practices. Proposed amendments were less a list of fundamental freedoms than an enumeration of those rights likely to appease moderate anti-Federalists. That many vaguely phrased rights lacked clear legal meaning was of little concern to their Federalist sponsors, who trusted ...