With the 220th anniversary of the adoption of the Amendments commonly known as the Bill of Rights upon us, a majority of the American people still do not understand the true intent of the Amendments. They believe the Amendments are the source of their individual rights and the federal government was granted the general power to secure those rights. In reality, the Amendments did not create any individual rights or grant the federal government any general power.
When the “Bill of Rights” was submitted to the individual States for ratification, it contained 12 proposed amendments and was prefaced with a preamble that spelled out the intent of the Amendments. As stated in the preamble, the purpose of the Amendments was to prevent the federal government from “misconstruing or abusing its powers.” To accomplish this, “further declaratory and restrictive clauses” were being recommended. The Amendments, if adopted (2 were rejected 10 were agreed to), would not create any so-called constitutional rights or grant the federal government any general power; they would place additional restraints and/or qualifications on federal power concerning the rights enumerated therein.
The best way to explain the intent of the Amendments was to re-write them through the preamble. This re-write helps explain the original intent of the Amendments, without resorting to the preamble, and makes them easier to understand. Some words have been changed to reflect modern usage and the sentence structure has been slightly altered in a few of the Amendments. The author suggests the reader, after reviewing the preamble [http://www.billofrights.org/], compare the wording of each Amendment to the original.Details