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Founding Fathers and the Bill of Rights

            As James Madison said, "The essence of government is power; and power lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse". This brought the question to the founding fathers as to how to prevent the abuse of governmental power or tyranny while protecting individual rights to life, liberty and prosperity.
             Attempting to establish a governmental structure for the newly independent colonies, the founding fathers established the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. This document was concerned with limiting the power of the central government, and virtually all power was given to the states. Although this system effectively governed for many years, it was not effective to hold the country together. Under the Articles of Confederation, the government lacked the power to tax and regulate interstate commerce, could not act in any matters relating to war, foreign relations, money or requisitions without the approval of at least nine of the thirteen states. Congress could not enforce sanctions against the states for any of the decisions it made, executive and judicial branches were weaker than the state legislature, there were no provisions for president, there were no Federal courts, and the Articles themselves were nearly impossible to change or amend. .
             In order to remedy the problems that existed in the Articles of confederation, the Virginia Plan was proposed and modified. This plan lead to the Madisonian Democracy, which focused on checks and balances, federalism, civil liberties, and civil rights. As stated in the United States" Constitution, the framers of our government sought to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". The ingredients which make up the Madisonian Democracy have grown and changed over time, holding true to their purpose: to balance government and the rights of the citizens.

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