What is the Bill of Rights?
In almost all countries of the world, the Bill of Rights represents some sort of list of all the basic rights of citizens. The obvious purpose of making such a list is to allow people to exercise their freedom and their rights while living in a particular country and without having to worry about the government’s handling on these particular rights. The Bill of Rights basically gives protection to the citizens of a particular country against the violations and abuses of the government.
Many Bills of Rights of other countries are patterned and/or inspired by England’s “Magna Carta” which was originally issued back in 1215. One basic provision in the 1215 England Charter involved citizens’ rights to be respected by the ruling king and that these citizens can only be punished under the “laws of the land”. This original charter underwent many revisions with accompanying limits to the powers of the rulers and kings of England.
In the US, the Bill of Rights refers to the first ten amendments of the US Constitution. It basically touches on the various limitations of the US Federal Government to protect the rights of all American citizens in terms of free religion, free press, free speech, free assembly, and free association among others. The US Bill of Rights was completed in 1789 and ratified by 1791. Also part of the US Bill of Rights was the citizens’ right to the “due process of law”. This involved people’s right in terms of double jeopardy, protection from unexplained searches, seizures, and military takeovers. The US Bill of Rights also indicated that all power not vested or delegated to the Federal government belonged to the citizens.
Other countries in the world also ratified and made into law their own list of their citizens’ rights. Many Bills of Rights are also part of the other countries’ Constitutions which contains the most basic laws of their lands.