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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness


In America, the first Bill of Rights included first ten amendments to the constitution. The rights serve to protect an individual’s natural rights of liberty and property. They provide personal freedom while depriving and limiting government powers in judiciary. Originally, the amendments aimed to apply to the federal government, but most of the provisions have been held to apply to the state. James Madison introduced the amendments in the first American congress. The House of Representative adopted the amendments on August 21, 1789. They come on effect on December 15, 1791. The bills of rights have been changing since the amendments. They change in respect to the people’s culture and advancement in technology. Currently, president Barrack Obama has contributed to a number of changes of the bills. The Bill of Rights is made to ensure people’s liberty and creation of happiness.

Amended Bills if Rights in the First Constitution Draft

American Bill of Rights was adopted from the 1689 English Bill of Rights, which included the fundamentals of English constitutional law. America excluded same of the articles in the English Bill of Rights since they represented the rights of people as stated by the Parliament against the Crown. The rights adopted ensured people freedom and protection against exploitation. They included right of petition. Individuals were given the freedom to participate in judicial proceedings and the right to sue individuals and organization (Wendy 39).

The right for an independent judiciary deprived the Sovereign the power to establish his own court or act as the judge. The Sovereign or individuals in authority had the power to act as a judge and pass out judgments. The amendment of the Bill of Rights gave the government power to run the court and appoint judges. According to this bill, after violation of the law individuals is suppose to be taken to court for judgment and not to the king or parliament. Freedom from taxation gave citizens right to pay taxes after the parliament agreement. Before the amendment, people could pay tax to the executives or royal prerogatives. After passing of the bill people could only pay taxes after the members of parliament had agreed. The agreed taxations included housing, tax for the working people and business operators. Before the amendments, each person paid taxes (David 76).

Another right was, “the freedom from a peace time standing army”. Individuals had the rights of protection in case of insecurity. The members of armed forces in peace keeping mission had no right to assault civilians. The duty of military personnel was to protect people from harm and dangers triggered by enemy forces. People were given the freedom to possess fire arms for protection. The law required individuals to apply for fire arm to the state. Then the applicant went through an interview to explain the reason for applying for fire arms. The individual with evil motives did not qualify to own a firearm. Before this amendment, the military personnel mistreated people during peace keeping mission. Individuals did not have right to own a firearm. The fire arms belonged to a military official and government official but after the amendment of the bill all people had the right to possess a firearm to protect their lives and properties (Wendy 23).

People were given the freedom to vote for members of parliament. Before the embedment, of this bill people could not vote for anybody without the decision of the Sovereign. The Sovereign had to select the members of parliament and inform people of the decision. After the amendment, each citizen voted for the members of parliament without anybodies influence. This led to election of new members of parliament who held top government offices. Another bill was the freedom of speech. People were given the power to speak in public and in parliament. Members of parliament had the right to bring up ideas without discrimination. This bill stated that in parliament, individual can not be charged with hate speech.  The freedom of speech gave people power to express their feeling and opinions to the government without fear. Before the amendment, people could not say anything to the government officials (David 70).

Another bill gave citizens freedom from harsh and cruel treatment, unusual punishment and extra bails. Individuals can not be mistreated. This bill ensured that people are protected. It deprived the government powers to exercise judicial practices. The government can not punish individual without reason or charge them excess bails. Offenders should be charged according to the weight of the crime committed as stated in the laws. People also are given freedom from forfeitures and fines charged without trail. Individuals can not be charged without undergoing the normal judicial proceedings. Before this amendment, people were charged fines without undergoing the trials. All those Bills of Rights amended protected citizens. They aimed at making sure that every person in the society lives a happy life. The bills also deprived the government power to mistreat people (Wendy 38). The bills ensured that the society remained without conflict. They promoted peace and security in America.


The American Civic Liberties Union fights to protect an individual’s rights and liberties. The formation of the organization took place in 1920. The organization initiated a lot of changes of the bills related human rights. During that time, the organization focused on the freedom of speech for individuals who opposed the war. It also concentrated on right of speech for workers striking. It also worked to combat racism. The union has fought for amendment of many human rights. In January 2012, they passed the bill legalizing abortion and use of contraceptives as a mean of birth control (Wendy 30).

In 1920s, the union fought to ensure that individuals had right of speech. It fought to ensure that labor workers and ant-war Protestants had right to express their opinions. The union also ensured right of speech to students in public learning institution. In 1925, people in America enjoyed right of speech and ACLU filed a case to separate the bible and school teachings. By 1928, individuals who faced charges of hate speech were released and the Supreme Court declared that the constitution guaranteed freedom of speech. As from 1930, the union fought to eliminate discrimination. They fought to ensure that the minorities were given rights to present their issues to the government. In 1932, the Norris-La Guardia Act was passed. This act gave employees rights to join workers union without the employer’s intervention (David 68).

In 1960s, a number of changes in the Bills of Rights took place under the influence of ACLU. The union fought to ensure people had freedom of association, prevented racial segregation, excluded religion from public schools activities, and provided a process which ensured protection of criminal suspects during judicial proceedings (David 67). Other changes, which took place in citizen’s rights and liberties, were enforced by the state and other non profit organization.

The union also fought to ensure freedom of expression. From 1940 to 1950s, the ACLU fought against censorship of literature and art. Many people in this time were released like Carl Kunz. He was arrested because of speaking in public without a police permit. In many cities in America, people banned some movies, since they regarded them as harmful, offensive and immoral. In 1951, Catholic Church banned the film, “The Miracle”. ACLU filed a case against the ban and worn in 1952. The union applied many cases, which later led to dismantling of the art and literature censorship (Wendy 34).

After the Second World War many federal, local and states government were undergoing racism. Many organizations joined together to fight against racism and ensure that people received the same treatment despite their race. In 1954, ACLU filed a brief in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. This case led to ban of racism in American public schools. ACLU also handles the issues of police misconduct. Police used excessive force in arresting. The union ensured that civilians had the right to be arrested peacefully. The union also fought for the right of privacy (David 50).

During the Obama rule, a lot of amendments and changes have taken place. In 2008, an amendment concerning gun control was made in a period of 70 years for the first time. The amendment gave individuals power to own fire arms, as well as the military personnel. The provision regarding fire arm possession differs from state to state. Some states like California do not allow people not connected to military to own a fire arm and use it in self defense within home. The issue of abortion has been legalized. People have the rights to use contraceptives and abort to safe mother’s life (Wendy 34). Another bill aiming to legalize gay marriage was amended in 2012. Many changes have taken place in the Bill of Rights of America.


The Bills of Rights change to suit people interest and ensure that each person is protected. They bills protect civilians from discrimination, torture and deprive the government exploitation powers. People and the government should always work in respect of those Bills. People of America should respect each other to live peacefully and avoid conflict with the state.

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