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The Bill Of Rights The United States Constitution The First Ten Amendments

What are amendments?  The first ten amendments to the Constitution = The Bill of Rights  To “amend” is to “change”  An amendment must be proposed by at least 2/3 of each house of Congress, or by a convention called by 2/3 of state legislatures  An amendment must be ratified by 3/4 of all states to become part of the Constitution  The Constitution has been amended 27 times  Why would the framers allow for amendments to be added?  Why did they make it difficult to amend the Constitution?

The Preamble  A number of the States … expressed a desire, in order to prevent … abuse of [the Constitution’s] powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added  And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government…  RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring…  … All or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the [the state] Legislatures, to be valid … as part of the … Constitution


 What is the purpose of the Bill of Rights?  The Bill of Rights defines the rights of individuals  The Bill of Rights restricts the actions of the federal government

Amendments I - IV : The general rights of Americans I.

Government cannot set up an official religion; Cannot interfere with freedoms of worship, speech, or press; Cannot break up peaceful gatherings of citizens

II. Citizens can “keep or bear arms” to maintain “a wellregulated militia” III. Government cannot house soldiers in private homes without permission IV. Government cannot search people or property without reason;cannot take property without reason (must have a warrant)

Amendments V - VIII: The rights of people arrested V.

Cannot be put on trial for a major crime without a grand jury; Cannot be deprived of “life, liberty, or property” without due process of law; No double jeopardy; Cannot be forced to testify against oneself


Right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; Right to a lawyer

VII. Right to a trial by jury in some non-criminal cases VIII. Protection from large bails, fines, and “cruel and unusual punishment”

Amendments IX - X : The rights not listed IX.

Constitution does not list all rights of people; Other important rights will be protected, too


Powers not given to the federal government belong to the states or the people

Question: What is the purpose of the Bill of Rights? The Bill of Rights defines the rights of individuals The Bill of Rights restricts the actions of the federal government

The Bill Of Rights And Amendments  

The Constitution includes important amendments that define the rights of individuals.

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