Is the Constitution written as a restriction of the government or benefits to citizens?

Were Constitutional provisions, such as the Bill of Rights, included to enumerate restrictions/duties of the government primarily OR instead detail the protections/rights offered to American citizens?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Nowhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights does it say "citizen" in relation to rights except as it relates to being President, voting, and the 14th Amendment - where States are not allowed to deny rights of citizens OR any person in their jurisdiction.

    The argument that restrictions on federal or state government power only applies to citizens is false. This is the reason for rendition and the Guantanamo Bay detection center setup. The only sound legal argument to what the federal government did is based on judicial jurisdiction. And even that was being chipped away at fairly quickly (at least at legal speed, which is close to glacial speed).

    Therefore, the provisions in the Constitution were to limit government power, not to say "this is for you, but we can do what we want with the others."

    Source(s): I studied Constitutional Law.
  • 1 decade ago

    The original constitution was set out to organize the Federal Government and the States.

    The Bill of Rights and other amendments were created to 1) point out that certain rights and powers were granted to the people, 2) point out that certain rights were granted to the states, and 3) to extend the power of the Government and its ability to operate. The 16th extended powers, the rest of the amendments directly concerning the organization of the government generally reorganized it(Presidential terms and succession) or added power directly to the people (Election of Senators rather than appointment by the legislatures.)

    The one venture into legislating morality encompassed two amendments and probably will not be repeated.

  • Mike S
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    The Bill of Rights was to ensure that citizens would have these rights. The articles lay out what the government can (and should only) do.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Federal Constitution grants no rights.

    All it exists to do is create and define the Federal Government, and limit the scope of its power.

    Read the way it is written and you will see that it does not "give" you the right to free speech, it merely states that the Federal Government cannot take it from you.

    States have the full right to allow or ban any behavior, actions, beliefs, or practices unless their state constitution restricts them.

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  • 1 decade ago

    they are the same thing: something that restricts the government also gets the government off the citizen's backs.

    We the people


    Obama the demagogue

  • Dexter
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I think it does both. Some parts talk about rights and other parts talk about limitations on government power.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Soon, neither.

    The Constitution will soon be placed out in the rain.

    Like the old song by Andy Wlliams.

    Some one left my cake out the rain.

    We'll never find that recipe again.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think the restiction of the government is for the benefit of the people.

  • fdm215
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    As we learn to say in law school: It depends.

  • ...
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    "Your [sic] overstepping your intellectual reach. Step back from the edge. The wound is more festered than you think."

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