Bill of Rights Day

MA Blogger: Brenda Bernstorf

The Bill of Rights are amendments to the U.S. Constitution that protect individual rights. When the Constitution was signed the signers had the understanding that a Bill of Rights would be added later. By December 15, 1791, 10 amendments were added to the Constitution.

Amendment 1 – Prohibits Congress from establishing a religion and people have freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition

Amendment 2 – Right to keep and bear arms

Amendment 3 – Restricts the quartering of soldiers during peacetime

Amendment 4 – Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, required search warrants based on probable cause.

Amendment 5 – Set the rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the rights of due process, prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy.

Amendment 6 – protects the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury.

Amendment 7 – Protects the right to trial by jury in certain civil cases.

Amendment 8 – Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment.

Amendment 9 – Protects rights not written in the Constitution.

Amendment 10 – Protects rights of the individuals not given to the federal government or the state government.

There are seventeen more amendments to the Constitution but the first ten are considered the Bill of Rights. Among those seventeen additional amendments Congress with ratification from at least 38 states abolished slavery, defined citizenship, protects the right to vote for all citizens regardless of race or gender, permits an income tax, prohibited manufacturing and/or sale of alcohol – then later repealed this amendment, plus a few more.

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