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Bill of Rights
The first Ten Amendments to the
Constitution are collectively known as The Bill of Rights
First Amendment [Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition (1791)]
Second Amendment [Right to Bear Arms (1791)]
Third Amendment [Quartering of Troops (1791)]
Fourth Amendment [Search and Seizure (1791)]
Fifth Amendment [Grand Jury, Double Jeopardy, Self-Incrimination, Due
Sixth Amendment [Criminal Prosecutions - Jury Trial, Right to Confront
and to Counsel (1791)]
Seventh Amendment [Common Law Suits - Jury Trial (1791)]
Eighth Amendment [Excess Bail or Fines, Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Ninth Amendment [Non-Enumerated Rights (1791)]
Tenth Amendment [Rights Reserved to States (1791)]
Amendment I (see
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free
state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without
the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be
prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place
to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Fifth Amendment at Cornell Law)
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous
crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in
cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in
actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be
subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or
limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness
against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without
due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use,
without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a
speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district
wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have
been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against
him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,
and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed
twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no
fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the
United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor
cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be
construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively,
or to the people.
Done in convention by the unanimous
consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the
year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the
independence of the United States of America the twelfth.
In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,
G. Washington-Presidt. and deputy from Virginia
New Hampshire: John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman
Massachusetts: Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King
Connecticut: Wm: Saml. Johnson, Roger Sherman
New York: Alexander Hamilton
New Jersey: Wil: Livingston, David Brearly, Wm. Paterson, Jona: Dayton
Pennsylvania: B. Franklin, Thomas Mifflin, Robt. Morris, Geo. Clymer,
Thos. FitzSimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, Gouv Morris
Delaware: Geo: Read, Gunning Bedford jun, John Dickinson, Richard
Bassett, Jaco: Broom
Maryland: James McHenry, Dan of St Thos. Jenifer, Danl Carroll
Virginia: John Blair--, James Madison Jr.
North Carolina: Wm. Blount, Richd. Dobbs Spaight, Hu Williamson
South Carolina: J. Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles
Pinckney, Pierce Butler
Georgia: William Few, Abr Baldwin
The Judicial power of the United States
shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced
or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another
State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
The Electors shall meet in their
respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President,
one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with
themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as
President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as
Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted
for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the
number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and
transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States,
directed to the President of the Senate.
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and
House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall
then be counted.
The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be
the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of
Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the
persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of
those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose
immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President,
the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state
having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or
members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states
shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives
shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve
upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the
Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or
other constitutional disability of the President.
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall
be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number
of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the
two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the
Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of
the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall
be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to
the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of
the United States.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor
involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the
party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United
States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to
enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 1. All persons born or
naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they
reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the
privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any
State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal
protection of the laws.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States
according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of
persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right
to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and
Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the
Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the
Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such
State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States,
or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other
crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the
proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the
whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress,
or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or
military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having
previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of
the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an
executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution
of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion
against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But
Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States,
authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and
bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall
not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall
assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or
rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or
emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims
shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, the provisions of this article.
You may also be interested in:
of the American Civil Rights Movements resource
suggested by Bobby of Bear Mountain School in Bellevue, Washington.