The US Constitution

Bill of Rights

Amendments 1-10

American Bill of Rights

  1. Freedom of Religion- Speech, Press, and Assembly- Congress is prohibited to pass laws that deal with the establisment of Religion, prohibit the practice of Religion, or that impede citizen's rights of speech, the press, or the right to congregate peacefully, or to request that the government makes up for its wrongdoings.
  2. Right to keep arms- Citizens will have the right to possess and bear arms for the use of defense.
  3. Quartering of Soldiers- In times of peace soldiers may not be boarded in a house without the permission of the owner, and in times of war this can only be done in a way outlined by law.
  4. Search and Seizure; Warrants- Citizens' rights to be safe in their houses and themselves from seach and seizure unless there is reason for authorities to reason that a search would be necessary. No warrants will be issued unless an oath or affirmation backs up the reason, and the a description is provided of the place to be searched and the items to be seized.
  5. Rights of Persons Accused of Crimes- A person accused of a crime may not be made to stand trial without indictment of a grand jury, except when in the armed forces in times of public danger. No person shall have to stand trial for the same crime twice when life or limb is possible the punishment. No person shall be forced to testify against his/herself, and shall not be given punishment without a fair trial. Private property shall not be confiscated for public use unless the owner is compensated.
  6. Right to Speedy Trial- An accused defendent has the right to a speedy and public trial with an unbiased jury in the state and district where the crime was committed. The defendents shall be told of the accusation, shall be able to confront prosecution witnesses, have the right to call forth witnesses on his/her behalf, and to have a lawyer.
  7. Jury Trial in Civil Cases- In all civil cases where the controversy exceeds $20, a defendent shall have the right to a trial by jury.
  8. Excessive Bail or Punishment- Large Bails or Unusual punishments shall not be administered.
  9. Powers reserved to the People- Even though some rights are described in length in the Constitution, this shall not be taken to mean that other rights are not granted.
  10. Powers reserved to the States- Powers that are not prescribed to the National government and are not prohibited are given to the people or the State Governments.

An Important Note About the Constitution

A right is a power, faculty or ability inherent to ownership and incident upon another. A right is always attached to a corresponding ownership and responsibility. It must be recognized that self ownership is included in no uncertain terms.

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution states that “We the people… do ordain and establish this Constitution”. The question arises whether a people can give themselves something they already have. Stating that they can presupposes a lack qualifying ownership, responsibility or right beforehand.

It is frequently stated that the Constitution gives us rights. No such language to the effect of “this document confers X right” exists within its text.

No Constitutional Rights

The First Amendment begins with the words “Congress shall make no law…”, then it proceeds to establish what types of laws Congress shall not make. The Second Amendment emphatically states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

The Fourth Amendment states that “The right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated…” The remainder of the Bill of Rights likewise states what shall not happen as a consequence of preexisting rights.

The Constitution and Unenumerated Rights

The Ninth Amendment says, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The Tenth Amendment reinforces this by saying, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the states and the people, respectively."

It’s impossible and even unnecessary to list every single right, such as your right to buy diet or regular Coke. However, there were concerns in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia that by creating a Bill of Rights, it would leave the impression that only the enumerated rights existed.

Rights Existed Before the Constitution

It is said that the Fourteenth Amendment gave slaves their right to freedom. What it says is that “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.”

It is said that the Nineteenth Amendment “gave” women the right to vote. The actual text says, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.” The text of this constitutional amendment acknowledges this preexisting right as opposed to granting it.

The Twenty Fourth Amendment acts similarly in terms of the right to vote being denied on the account of a poll tax. The Twenty Sixth Amendment to the Constitution again treats those denied the right to vote on account of age in a similar manner.

The Constitution functions to protect preexisting, unalienable rights. It is the same purpose for which the Declaration of Independence was written.

See Amendments in the original Text

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