The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. While originally the amendments applied only to the federal government, most of their provisions have since been held to apply to the states by way of the Fourteenth Amendment.
For the first time on the national level the legal status of U.S. citizen was uniformly defined, outlining the scope of the federal enforcement of civil rights and liberties.
The absence in the text of the U.S. Constitution articles guaranteeing civil rights in the early years of the American state was one of the main themes of political differences that were associated with specific group and party interests. From the president, the government and the Congress is expected to promise the Constitutional Convention legal instrument to ensure the country's citizens their rights and freedoms. For four years after the adoption of the Constitution in numerous proposals Congress states were collected. The main proposed amendments are reflected in supplements prepared by James Madison that guarantee the rights to freedom of religion, speech and press, freedom of assembly, right to keep and bear arms for security of person and home, the fair administration of justice and the introduction of a jury. These articles were the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, approved by Congress September 25, 1791. After the ratification of the amendments by the state legislature of December 15, 1791, they became part of the U.S. Constitution under the unofficial name of the Bill of Rights.
Bill of Rights should become an example for Ukraine. To my mind, Ukraine can’t become fully democratic state because our country has a range of internal problems. Another problem of Ukraine is bad team work and low competence of our government. Other serious problems are corruption, aggravation of criminal situation, economic and ecological crisis, censorship .Unfortunately we can’t boast of the rule of laws, because even high rank officials don’t observe them. For sure the USA also has such problems but the authorities try to solve them and The Bill of Rights became the solution of many problems.
Ukrainian Constitution also consists of many laws about human rights but they do not work because in our society there are always certain categories of people who allow themselves not to follow the rules. They often find some loopholes in the laws to their advantage. The situation becomes even more dangerous when some politicians lobby their own business interests in the parliament. They try to change the Constitution and adapt it to their needs, which is absolutely unacceptable. Ukrainian society should find the way to make politicians stop manipulating with the Constitutional articles. We should remember that Constitution is adopted once and forever and the best way is to introduce amendments, as it was done in the USA,if it is vitally urgent. The necessity to introduce amendments should be thoroughly considered and argumentated. Ukrainian people should control the whole process of law changes, implementation of new amendments. Ukrainians shouldn’t be a driven crowd, but take initiative, volunteer and create public organizations, find competent and honest leaders to represent their interests in the parliament. We shouldn’t say “Mu hut is apart” and wait for somebody to protect our rights. We should defend them ourselves, because one day we take a risk to become slaves working for a group of oligarchs. Therefore, democracy must take into account the aforementioned problems. But I hope that in future we will solve all these problems. George Bernard Shaw said the following phrase: "Democracy can not rise above the level of the material of which composed its voters." I think that the events in 2004 identified the willingness of our society to establish genuine democratic civilized relations.
Author: Darya Oveshchenko, Lviv Educational Complex named after Vasyl Stus
* * *
Competition is held by the Center for Political Studies (Donetsk, Ukraine), jointly with the portal “American Clubs – Ukraine”, and the Kyiv Alumni Resource Center (ARC). General partner of the competition: American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii (Honolulu, USA). Partners of the competition: Institute of Professional Lobbying and Advocacy (IPLA) and Donetsk Regional Association of International Researchers (DAIR). More detailed information about the competition is available here.