Happy Bill of Rights Day to Brits and Americans
By the 18th century, men and women in Britain had struggled for more than a thousand years to affirm these rights—
The freedom to own and sell property
The right to habeas corpus and to trial by jury
The right not to be fined excessively or punished cruelly
The right to be silent under interrogation
The right to speak freely
The right to your house, free of government searches or seizure—‘your home is your castle’
The right to petition your government
The right not to have soldiers quartered in your home
The right to bear arms.
As we've noted in our book, the Americans who fought for freedom were British subjects. Many of their ancestors had arrived in America from Britain. In the run-up to the American Revolution, Americans told the Lord Mayor of London that they were fighting for "the bright inheritance of English freedom".
So it's not surprising that the rights listed above became part of the US Constitution as the Bill of Rights. There were a few other key amendments, such as the 10th Amendment, which affirmed that powers not designated to the federal government belonged to the people and the states.
On December 15th 1791, the US Constitution was amended with the Bill of Rights. We think it's a day to celebrate. Brits may be pleased that Americans took their inspiration seriously, and carefully wrote out the rights for which Brits had fought for more than ten centuries.
Let's not forget them.
We edit and post this piece every year.