The U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights with Biographies of the Founders
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A series of newspaper articles drafted by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, urging ratification of the new Constitution. These three constitutional amendments abolished slavery and guaranteed equal protection of the laws and the right to vote. Drafted by George Mason, this declaration of rights later became a model for other state constitutions and the Bill of Rights. Historical Documents.
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For: Educators , Students. Tags: Government. Articles of Confederation The first charter, or constitution, adopted by the 13 states following the American Revolution. Tags: History , Government , Separation of Powers. Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline is an online experience highlighting some of the key dates and events that mark more than years of our constitutional history.
For: Educators , Students , Families. Tags: Civics , History , Government. Tags: History , Fourth of July. Mayflower Compact This document was an agreement drafted by the settlers of the first New England colony. Tags: History , Government. Beeman, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. Since no state has approved it since , ratification by an additional 27 states would now be necessary for the article to be adopted. Article Two, initially ratified by seven states through including Kentucky , was not ratified by another state for eighty years.
The Ohio General Assembly ratified it on May 6, in protest of an unpopular Congressional pay raise. Wilson and subsequently affirmed by a vote of Congress on May 20, Three states did not complete action on the twelve articles of amendment when they were initially put before the states. Georgia found a Bill of Rights unnecessary and so refused to ratify. Both chambers of the Massachusetts General Court ratified a number of the amendments the Senate adopted 10 of 12 and the House 9 of 12 , but failed to reconcile their two lists or to send official notice to the Secretary of State of the ones they did agree upon.
The Bill of Rights had little judicial impact for the first years of its existence; in the words of Gordon S. Wood , "After ratification, most Americans promptly forgot about the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Baltimore New York Mayes , the Court ruled that Constitutional protections, including the provisions of the Bill of Rights, do not apply to the actions of American Indian tribal governments. Barnette case that the founders intended the Bill of Rights to put some rights out of reach from majorities, ensuring that some liberties would endure beyond political majorities.
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. The First Amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion , impeding the free exercise of religion , abridging the freedom of speech , infringing on the freedom of the press , interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
Initially, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by Congress, and many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. In Everson v. Board of Education , the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson's correspondence to call for "a wall of separation between church and State", though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. Sullivan The Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, and applies to a wide variety of media.
In Near v.
Minnesota  and New York Times v. United States ,  the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint —pre-publication censorship—in almost all cases. The Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has also ruled that the amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.
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 infringed. The Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms. The concept of such a right existed within English common law long before the enactment of the Bill of Rights. Long a controversial issue in American political, legal, and social discourse, the Second Amendment has been at the heart of several Supreme Court decisions.
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 Third Amendment restricts the quartering of soldiers in private homes, in response to Quartering Acts passed by the British parliament during the Revolutionary War. The amendment is one of the least controversial of the Constitution, and, as of [update] , has never been the primary basis of a Supreme Court decision.
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.
The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable searches and seizures , along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. It was adopted as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance , which is a type of general search warrant , in the American Revolution.
Search and seizure including arrest must be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuing court, usually by a law enforcement officer who has sworn by it.
America's Founding Documents | National Archives
The amendment is the basis for the exclusionary rule , which mandates that evidence obtained illegally cannot be introduced into a criminal trial. 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 offence 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.
The Fifth Amendment protects against double jeopardy and self-incrimination and guarantees the rights to due process , grand jury screening of criminal indictments, and compensation for the seizure of private property under eminent domain. The amendment was the basis for the court's decision in Miranda v.
George Mason: Forgotten Founder, He Conceived the Bill of Rights
Arizona , which established that defendants must be informed of their rights to an attorney and against self-incrimination prior to interrogation by police. 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 Gideon v. Wainwright , the Court ruled that the amendment guaranteed the right to legal representation in all felony prosecutions in both state and federal courts. 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 re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. The Seventh Amendment guarantees jury trials in federal civil cases that deal with claims of more than twenty dollars.
It also prohibits judges from overruling findings of fact by juries in federal civil trials. In Colgrove v.
Battin , the Court ruled that the amendment's requirements could be fulfilled by a jury with a minimum of six members. The Seventh is one of the few parts of the Bill of Rights not to be incorporated applied to the states.
The Eighth Amendment forbids the imposition of excessive bails or fines, though it leaves the term "excessive" open to interpretation. In Furman v. Georgia , some members of the Court found capital punishment itself in violation of the amendment, arguing that the clause could reflect "evolving standards of decency" as public opinion changed; others found certain practices in capital trials to be unacceptably arbitrary, resulting in a majority decision that effectively halted executions in the United States for several years. Georgia , which found capital punishment to be constitutional if the jury was directed by concrete sentencing guidelines.
Gamble and Brown v. Plata The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. The Ninth Amendment declares that there are additional fundamental rights that exist outside the Constitution.
Founding Fathers of the United States
The rights enumerated in the Constitution are not an explicit and exhaustive list of individual rights. It was rarely mentioned in Supreme Court decisions before the second half of the 20th century, when it was cited by several of the justices in Griswold v.
Connecticut The Court in that case voided a statute prohibiting use of contraceptives as an infringement of the right of marital privacy. Wade , which overturned a Texas law making it a crime to assist a woman to get an abortion, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey , which invalidated a Pennsylvania law that required spousal awareness prior to obtaining an abortion.
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. The Tenth Amendment reinforces the principles of separation of powers and federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states or the people.
The amendment provides no new powers or rights to the states, but rather preserves their authority in all matters not specifically granted to the federal government. Congress has sometimes circumvented the Tenth Amendment by invoking the Commerce Clause in Article One  or by threatening to withhold funding for a federal program from noncooperative States, as in South Dakota v.
Dole George Washington had fourteen handwritten copies of the Bill of Rights made, one for Congress and one for each of the original thirteen states. In an FBI sting operation, it was recovered in After fifty years on display, signs of deterioration in the casing were noted, while the documents themselves appeared to be well preserved. In his dedicatory remarks, President George W. Bush stated, "The true [American] revolution was not to defy one earthly power, but to declare principles that stand above every earthly power—the equality of each person before God, and the responsibility of government to secure the rights of all.
In , President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15 to be Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Voting Rights. Drafting and ratification timeline Convention Signing Federalism Republicanism. Main article: Constitutional Convention United States.
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous.