U.S. Constitution for Kids – Amendment IX – May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011 – Amendment IX – Interpretation of Mr. Steven H. Aden’s Essay

Amendment IX

“The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

“The Ninth Amendment is that rare creature in American politics, a success story conceived in humility…” ~Steven H. Aden

Fun Fact #1

There were two forces at work during the ratification process of the Constitution of the United States: that of the Anti-Federals and the states, and that of the Federalist.

  1. The Federalists (the creators of the Constitution) thought it to be irrelevant to create a Bill of Rights, for the Constitution was made up of enumerated powers. Thus, their reasoning was that if the Constitution did not state that the federal government could prohibit the freedom of speech, there was no need for an amendment protecting free speech from the government.
  2. The Anti-Federalist (the states) stood firmly on their belief that a Constitution of “enumerated powers” was not strong enough to protect their valuable rights such as the freedom of speech.

This debate concluded with a Bill of Rights, the argument ending with the Federalist giving a little just so the Constitution would be ratified by the states.

Fun Fact #2

It is interesting to note that the first eight amendments to the Bill of Rights declare and protect the freedoms of the individuals of America. However, the last two amendments are declaring that there are more rights out there in the universe that are not mentioned in the Bill of Rights.

Fun Fact #3

Amendment IX states simply that a citizen of the United States will not be denied any right to freedom by the government, even if the Bill of Rights does not enumerate it (as long as they are not prohibited by the Constitution). Why is this Amendment necessary? Well, if the Federalist waved “enumerated powers” as their banner, what was to happen if a citizen’s right was not enumerated in the Bill of Rights? With the Ninth Amendment, our founding fathers state, in crystal clear language, that the enumeration of certain rights “shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

With the ninth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, our founding fathers intricately expose their intention for the Constitution: to limit the federal government, but protect the liberties of the people.

“Despite 220 years of constitutional interpretation, there really isn’t much one can say about the Ninth Amendment.  And that’s just what James Madison and the Framers intended.” ~Steven H. Aden

God Bless,

Juliette Turner

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