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Declaration of Independence
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Bill of Rights 
 
 
Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-10: I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | X
 
Instructions for Use of this Bill of Rights Study Guide
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 Vocabulary & Knowledge Keys:
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 Audio Media File:
Audio Narrations that may be opened in a new Tab with a Left Mouse click, allowing you to read along on this page.
  At A Glance: Thumbnailed Summaries.  
Short "At A Glance" Summaries of each Article, Section and Clause for quick reference.
Index:
Clicking on these anywhere in the page will return you to the Top Index and these instructions.
 

 
First 10 Articles of Amendment to
the Constitution of the United States of America

Known as the Bill of Rights
At A Glance:
"The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its (the federal government's) powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added . . ." The first ten articles of amendment were ratified on December 15, 1791. They are actually a set of Restrictions guarding against a too powerful government, and together they form a construction that is more commonly known as the "Bill of Rights". Many publications of the Bill of Rights leave out the Preamble or only include the last paragraph. It must be included as part of the original document for complete understanding. Viewed in this light, their original intent and meaning becomes very clear and concise. The Preamble to the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, as follows:
Preamble:
Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
 
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
 
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
 
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
Amendment I: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: Freedom from Religion, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of the Press; the Right to Assemble and Petition for Redress of Grievances.  
 
     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.
 
Amendment II: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms.  
 
     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.
 
Amendment III: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: The Housing of Soldiers; Limitation on quartering of soldiers.  
 
     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.
 
Amendment IV: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures.  
 
     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.
 
Amendment V: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: Protection of Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property. Protection of accused in capital crimes.  
 
     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.
 
Amendment VI: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: Rights of Accused Persons in Criminal Cases. Right to speedy trial of accused by impartial jury.  
 
     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.
 
Amendment VII: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: Rights in Civil Cases. Trial by jury in civil suits.  
 
     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.
 
Amendment VIII: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: Excessive Bail, Fines, and Punishments Forbidden. Cruel and unusual punishments forbidden.  
 
     Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
 
Amendment IX: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: Other Rights Kept by the People. This enumeration of rights does not deny other rights retained by people.  
 
     The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
 
Amendment X: 1791 Audio Media File Index

 
  At A Glance: Undelegated Powers Kept and Reserved by the States and 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.
 
 

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