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When was the last time you read the Bill of Rights?

billofrights.gifWhen was the last time you read your Bill of Rights? Do you remember how many there are? Exactly what are the Bill of Rights?

The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States, which were adopted in 1791. The titles tell little about some of the rights, but each contains a legislative explanation which helps. Currently there are twenty-seven (27) Constitutional amendments, the newest one adopted in 1992.

Here is a list of the first ten amendments or The Bill of Rights.

  1. Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; Rights of assembly and petition.
  2. Right to bear arms
  3. Housing of soldiers
  4. Search and arrest warrants
  5. Rights in criminal cases
  6. Rights to a fair trial
  7. Rights in civil cases
  8. Bails, fines and punishments
  9. Rights retained by the people
  10. Powers retained by the states and the people

Most people are familiar with these, but a review is always good. Number three, Housing of soldiers, isn’t one that is needed much today, but remains in effect.

For a full refresher course, or for those who want more information, here is the full text of the Bill of Rights.

Amendment I
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
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.

There you have it. A new look at the wisdom of the founding fathers, listing basic rights that are still relevant today.

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