The Bill of Rights for Kids
The Full Text of the Bill of Rights Can Be Found here
The Bill of Rights is the name of the first ten amendments found in the United States United States Constitution. The bill of Rights serves to protect the rights of liberty and property. The bill of rights also guarantees certain of personal freedoms, reserve some powers to the states and the public, and limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings. While the amendments originally only applied to the federal government, many of their provisions are now applied to the states due to the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Bill of Rights was first introduced to the first United States Congress by James Madison as a group of legislative articles. These articles were then adopted on August 21, 1789 by the House of Representatives and were formally proposed on September 25, 1789 by a joint resolution of Congress, and finally came into effect on December 15, 1791 as Constitutional Amendments, after being ratified by three-fourths of the States. Although twelve of the amendments were passed by Congress, only ten of the amendments were passed originally by the states. Out of the remaining two that were not passed by the states, one amendment was later adopted as the 27th Amendment while the other technically is still pending before the states.
The Bill of Rights originally included legal protection for only for land-owning white men, and did not provide the same protection for women an African Americans. It took more Constitutional Amendments and many Supreme Court cases to finally give the same rights to all United States citizens.
The Bill of Rights is very important in to American government and law, and to this day it still remains an important symbol of the freedoms given in the United States.
Amendments of the Bill of Rights for Kids
First Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the very first section of the Bill of Rights. This amendment prevents the following:
· Allow any law to be made that establishes a religion
· Stops anyone from freely exercising their religion
· Overstepping on the freedom of the press. This mainly revolves around:
o Content regulation
o Taxation of the press
· Shortening the freedom of speech. Some issues that have come up look at:
o Speech that is critical of the government
o Political speech (campaign speech, anonymous speech, flag desecration, and free speech zones)
o Commercial speech
o Speech in school
o Private action
o Memoirs of convicted criminals
o Involuntary administration of medicine
· Interfering with the right for peaceably assemble or not allowing petitioning for a redress of grievances by the government
The First Amendment originally only applied to any laws which were enacted by the Congress. However, after the case Gitlow v. New York (1925), the United States Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause applies the First Amendment not only to Congress, but to each state and any of its local governments.
Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is the section of the United States Bill of Rights which protects the right of individual people to bear arms. This amendment was adopted into the Constitution December 15, 1791, with the rest of the Bill of Rights.
Many early colonial American settlers thought of the right to bear arms or having state militias as an important right which had many different purposes, many which were specifically written in early state constitutions. These included:
· Allowing the people to set up a militia
· Discouraging undemocratic governments from being made
· Participating in actions of law enforcement
· Halting or preventing invasion
· Allowing the right to defend oneself
· Preventing insurrection
In the late 1900’s century, there was a lot of debate around whether the Second Amendment only protected the right to bear arms as a collective right or individuals also had that right. The debate was about whether the right to bear arms was only for militias and armies, or if individuals also were provided that right. The Supreme Court ultimately decided that the right was an individual one in the case.
Third Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Third Amendment found in the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution was introduced on September 5, 1789. The Third Amendment makes it illegal and unconstitutional to allow soldiers to temporarily reside in private homes during peace time without the permission of the owner. The only time it is legally allowed to have soldiers live in private homes without the permission of the owner is during wartime, and even then it must follow the law. This amendment was ratified by three quarters of the states on December 15, 1791 along with the 9 other amendments.
Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution is also the fourth in the Bill of Rights. This amendment protects citizens from unreasonable seizures and searches. It also requires all warrants to be approved by a judge and be supported by some probable cause as well. The Fourth Amendment was adopted due to the abuse of a writ of assistance, which is a form of a general search warrant which was used during the American Revolution. According to the Amendment, searches and arrests must be limited in scope and should follow the specific information given to the issuing court and has been sworn on, typically by a law enforcement officer.
The Fourth Amendment is applicable when looking at governmental seizures and searches, but it does not apply to searches that are done by organizations or private citizens who are not acting for the government. Originally, the Bill of Rights only restricted this power of the federal government and not on the states. However, after the Supreme Court Case Wolf v. Colorado, the Court stated that the Fourth Amendment was applicable to state governments since the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause is also applicable to the states. Furthermore, many states have similar provisions within their own state constitutions.
The federal government’s jurisdiction in criminal law used to be narrow, until the late 1900’s, after Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act as well as the Sherman Antitrust Act. Both of these acts resulted in the federal government’s criminal jurisdiction expanding to also include other things like narcotics, and because of this more questions regarding the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights went to the Supreme Court.
In these cases, the Supreme Court ruled that certain searches and seizures could violate the requirement of searches being reasonable as described in the Fourth Amendment, even if a warrant is reinforced by probable cause as well as limited in scope. However, the Supreme Court has also approved routine warrantless seizures in cases where probable cause for a criminal offense exists. Therefore, the warrant requirement and the reasonableness requirement are a bit different. The reasonableness requirement is applicable not only just to searches in combination with seizures, but also to searches without a seizure, along with seizures without a search.
The main way the courts enforce the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights is by using the exclusionary rule. This rule provides that any evidence obtained through a search and/or seizure that is in violation of the Fourth Amendment usually cannot be used by the prosecution in a criminal trial against the defendant.
Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution is an amendment that protects people against any abuse of government authority in a legal manner. The amendment guarantees comes from English common law and the Magna Carta. The amendment states that no citizen can be held to answer for a crime unless they are on presentment have been indicted by a Grand Jury, with the exception of cases that come out of the military. Furthermore, the amendment says that no person will be subjected to the same crime or offense twice. Third, the Fifth Amendment states that a person cannot be compelled to self-incriminate himself by testifying against himself. Individuals cannot be deprived of liberty, property, or life without receiving due process of law. Lastly, a person’s private property cannot be taken for land use without receiving compensation for it.
Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Sixth Amendment in the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution describes the rights in criminal prosecutions. The Supreme Court has applied these protections of the Sixth Amendment to all of the states by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.
The text of the Sixth Amendment states that in all and any criminal prosecutions, the accused will be given the right to a public and speedy trial, by an impartial jury of the district and state where the crime took place. The Sixth Amendment also describes the districts that were previously determined by the law. Under this amendment, the person will be informed about the cause and nature of the accusation, and he or she will be confronted by the witness who is against him or her. The defendant will also have a compulsory process for getting witnesses in his favor, and will be provided the Assistance of Counsel for setting up his or her defense.
Seventh Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution was ratified by the rest of the Bill of Rights and gives the right to a jury trial for specific civil cases. However, the Supreme Court has stated that in other civil cases, they do not get the right to a jury trial for the states in the same way that is usually expected when looking at the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court ruled in The Justices v. Murray (1869) that the Seventh Amendment is not only limited in being applied to civil law suits that are tried before juries found in United States courts, but is also applicable in cases that are tried before a jury when at a state court.
Eighth Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Eighth Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights which does not allow the federal government to impose bail that is in excessive amounts, fines that are excessive, or punishments that are cruel and unusual. The United States Supreme Court has said that the Cruel and Unusual Punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment is not only applicable to the Federal government, bit it is also applicable to the individual states.
Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, talks about the rights of the people who are not specifically enumerated by the United States Constitution. The Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights is usually looked at by the courts as an Amendment that negates any growth of governmental power due to the enumeration of rights found in the Constitution. However, the Ninth Amendment is not thought of as a limiter of governmental power.
Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution was the last of the proposed twelve amendments that were ratified on December 15, 1791. This Amendment describes that the principle of federalism in the Constitution by saying that any powers not given to the federal government, nor powers that are prohibited to the individual states by the Constitution are then reserved to the people or the states.