Home Kids Page 4

Kids

12th Amendment

13th Amendment

Tenth Amendment

Tenth Amendment

A Guide to the Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment, or Amendment X of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that basically says that any power that is not given to the federal government is given to the people or the states. The Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights put into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.
Text of the Tenth Amendment
The text of the Tenth Amendment is very short and says the following:
“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.”
History of the Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment is very similar to an earlier part of the Articles of Confederation. These articles said that every state would keep their freedom, independence, jurisdiction, rights, and sovereignty. 
Once the U.S. Constitution was ratified by the states, some people wanted to add amendments that would only give the federal governments powers that were mentioned in the Constitution. However, because the world “expressly” did not show up in the Tenth Amendment, the Federal government still had some implied powers.
When James Madison introduced the Tenth Amendment, he explained that many of the states were very eager to ratify the Tenth amendment, even though many people thought it was not necessary. The States ultimately decided to vote for the Tenth Amendment which made it clearer that there were still powers that were not mentioned that the Federal government had.
Modern Use of the Tenth Amendment
Today, the Tenth Amendment is often thought of as something very obvious or self-evident. In a 1931 Supreme Court case, the justices said that the Tenth Amendment did not really add anything new to the United States Constitution. Sometimes, local or state governments try to say that they do not have to follow some federal laws because of the Tenth Amendment. 
In the Supreme Court, there have been very few cases that use the Tenth Amendment to call a law unconstitutional. The only times the Court has done this is in situations where the Federal government forces a state to follow their laws. However, in 1996, a Justice said that Congress can try to make a state follow a law by setting certain laws that may involve commerce or spending power, but Congress cannot force a state to follow federal laws.

Facts about the Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment was introduced to the U.S. Constitution by James Madison.
The Tenth Amendment is a good example of a part of the Constitution that talks about federalism, which is a type of government that is split up into different governing sections.
The Tenth Amendment was supposed to help limit Congress’s powers, by preventing any un-enumerated rights, but instead it resulted in more uncertainty about uncertainty about their rights. 

We The People

We The People

What Does We the People Mean?


“We the People” is a phrase that comes from the Preamble of the United States Constitution. In the Preamble of the United States, it talks about what the purpose of the Constitution, and what principles guide it. 
Where Does “We The People” Show Up?


“We the People” is in the very first sentence of the United States Constitution. Here is the text where “We the People” is found:
” WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

What Does “We the People” Mean?


While you may think that that the phrase “We the People” is talking about all Americans, there is actually much more to the phrase. “We the People” includes all the citizens of the Untied States of America. The importance of this phrase is shows that it was just the framers of the Constitution of the legislators who were giving powers to the government. Instead, the government gets all of its powers from all of the Citizens of the United States of America. 

Who Does “We the People” Include?


Today, “We the People” includes all citizens of the United States. They can be any race and any gender. In order to be a citizen and be a part of “We the People,” you can be born in the United States or you can receive your citizenship. However, when the Constitution was ratified, some groups of people did not have the same rights as others. For example, women and slaves were not able to vote. Without being able to vote, they would not be able to choose representatives and be involved in law making.
Why is “We the People” Important?
When you read the entire preamble, you can see that it is “We the People” who are giving the government their powers. This is very important because without the people lending that power, the United States Constitution would not have been able to become the guideline for the Republican government we have today. 

Federalist Papers

Federalist Papers

What are the Federalist Papers?


The Federalist Papers were a set of 85 different essays that were written under the pen name of Publius. The Federalist Papers were actually written by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. These papers appeared in different New York newspapers including the New York Packet and the Independent Journal between October of 1787 and May of 1788. The essays that made up the Federalist papers urged the New York delegates to ratify the United States Constitution. In 1788, these essays were published as a bound volume, which was then entitled the Federalist. Only later did this collection of essays become known as the Federalist Papers.
Not long after the end of the Constitutional Convention, a large national debate started about whether it was a good decision to the proposed Constitution. Newspapers all over the country published various letters, articles, and opinions that found both for the Constitution and against it. The Federalist papers were some of the most famous letters that were published at this time. 
To address the fears that the Constitution could give the central government too much control and power by limiting individual freedom, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison carefully looked at the Constitution in great detail and described the checks and balances built into the document which were made to carefully divide power between the three different branches of government while protecting the rights of the states and people.
Ultimately, New York delegates voted in favor of ratifying the Constitution and accepting the new government because New York City had threatened to secede if the delegates did not do it. Although these three men they did not play a strong role in the State of New York’s careful decision to ratify the United States Constitution, their essays in the Federalist Papers are still thought of as an important collection of documents today. Because two of the three authors, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, actually went to the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers give insight and help explain the intentions of those who were involved in making the Constitution.

How the Federalist Papers Are Used Today


Today, the Federalist Papers are still used as an original source of interpretation for the United States Constitution. The Federalist Papers also outline the motivation and ideas of the proposed government, as it was presented by Madison, Hamilton and Jay. Many court judges today look at the Federalist Papers when they make rulings on cases.

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

What is the Declaration of Independence?


The Declaration of Independence is a very important legal document, one of the most important ones in the history of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence represents the first step made officially to stop Great Britain from controlling the 13 colonies. The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson during the Second Continental Congress. It took if seventeen days to write the Declaration of Independence. 

Why Do We Have the Declaration of Independence?
The Declaration of Independence was a way for the British colonists in America to fight against Great Britain. These colonists were very used to being their own bosses in many different ways. They felt that King George III and the British Parliament were trying to take away many of their freedoms through unfair laws. For example, the Crown would place very high taxes on the colonists, and would interfere with overseas trade. The colonists felt that King George III was a tyrant.  
On April 19, 1775, the Revolutionary War broke out at the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
Once the Second Continental Congress finally met to talk about stronger efforts for independence in May 1775, American colonies were very angry and tense. American colonists who did not want to remain under British rule called themselves “Patriots,” whole those who were faithful to England called themselves the “Loyalists.”
On June 11, 1776, a committee of five men was appointed by the Second Continental Congress to write a Declaration of Independence which would free them from British Rule. These five men were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. Thomas Jefferson wrote the very first draft of the Declaration of Independence. 
The Declaration of Independence has five sections. These sections were the Preamble, Statement of Human Rights, the Charges Against Human Rights, the Charges Against the King and Parliament, and a Statement of Separation and Signatures.
The purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to state that the colonies were from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence also described the principles that were the basis for wanting independence. The Declaration of Independence said that all men are created equal and they are all entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 
The committee thought that this draft was almost perfect. They presented the Declaration of Independence to Congress after making a few small corrections. After a few more changes, the Declaration of Independence was approved. 
The signers of the Declaration of Independence stated that the new states that were representatives for had the right to wage war against Great Britain, trade they way they liked, and create their own laws. The new government of the Country would be for the people and by the people, different from any other governments modern history had seen. On July 4, 1776, church bells rang out to celebrate the day the Declaration of Independence was accepted and our country was officially born.

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

Our Founding Fathers: Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was one of the most famous Founding Fathers. He was born in January 17, 1706 in Boston as the 15th out of 17 children. When Benjamin Franklin was 12, he began working at his brother’s print shop as an apprentice, where he learned a lot about writing and printing. He even published a few articles anonymously in the New England Courant. 
Benjamin Franklin’s Early Career and Family
At the age of 17, Benjamin Franklin ran away from home and went to Philadelphia. He then went to London a year later to work at a print shop. Two years later, Benjamin returned to Philadelphia where he opened up a print office. At the age of 23, Benjamin Franklin bought the Pennsylvania Gazette and planned to make it into the best newspaper possible. A year later, Benjamin Franklin got married to Deborah Rogers and had his first son in 1731. He went on to have two more children. 
Even though Benjamin Franklin had a family, he still kept writing and educating himself. In 1732, he started to publish the Poor Richard’s Almanac, under the pen name Richard Saunders. Benjamin Franklin also kept printing the Gazette, until he sold it in 1748 and retired from printing.
Benjamin Franklin in the Community
Benjamin Franklin also took a very active role in the community. In 1736, he founded a volunteer fire company and also became the postmaster of the city the next year. He also organized the Philadelphia Militia and helped start the first university in Pennsylvania. He also helped the country by setting up the first city hospital in the country and the first library in Pennsylvania. 
Benjamin Franklin as a Political Figure
Benjamin Franklin traveled for five year starting from 1757 around Great Britain. He also made many more trips to France and Britain right before the American Revolution. 
Benjamin Franklin was elected to the Continental Congress. He was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The same year, Benjamin Franklin went to France as the American Commissioner, the representative of the newly formed country. Benjamin Franklin played a very large role in making France into an Alliance, which was very helpful during the Revolutionary War. 
After the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin stated in Europe where he helped negotiate treaties with other foreign nations. He returned to America in 1787, where he served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Benjamin Franklin played a strong role here as an elder statesman who shared his world view. He was very happy to see the United States gain its independence and take up the United States Constitution. Unfortunately, Benjamin Franklin died in 1790 at the age of 84, only three years after the Constitution was put into place. 

Fun Facts About Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin was also an investor who created bifocal glasses, the Franklin stove, the lightning rod, and more.
He found out that electricity and lightning was the same thing by experimenting with a string, kite, and a key during a thunderstorm.
He studied the Gulf Stream and Atlantic Ocean currents while he was a post master. 
He had many different jobs during his life including a soldier, bookstore owner, librarian, scientist, writer, and politician.

Loving v. Virginia

Loving v. Virginia

Loving v. Virginia: The Background

The case of Loving v. Virginia deals with marriage laws. It begins with a woman named Mildred Loving, an African-American who married Richard Loving, a Caucasian male. The couple married in Washington D.C. in the year of 1958. Both Richard and Mildred were residents of the state of Virginia; however, Virginia did not allow couples of different races to marry. Because of this law, Richard Loving and Mildred decided to marry in neighboring Washington D.C. which did allow marriages between different races to take place. 

When the couple returned from their marriage ceremony in Washington, D.C., the Lovings were promptly arrested because they violated Virginia law, which did not allow couples of different races to get married. This law, which was called the Anti-Miscegenation Statue, was passed in the state of Virginia in 1924 and formally made inter-marriage illegal. “Inter-marriage” according to this law referred to the marriage of people of different races. The Lovings were sentenced to a year in prison for violating this law. In response to their arrest, the Lovings appealed and claimed that the state law was wrong and that it violated the United States Constitution. 

Loving v. Virginia: The Case Profile

The case of Loving v. Virginia took place on April 10th of 1967. The case resulted from the appeal of the original arrest. Richard Perry Loving and Lidred Jeter Loving filed an appeal against the state of Virginia because they felt the state’s law was a direct violation of the couple’s right to marry and their marital privacy. These Lovings claimed that the state law violated their 14th Amendment rights to pursuit life, liberty and happiness. The State of Virginia initially offered a reduced sentence so long as the couple left the state. The Lovings didn’t think this was an acceptable compromise so they took their case to the Supreme Court. 

The case of Loving v. Virginia was decided on June 12th of 1967 and was heard in the United States Supreme Court. 

Loving v. Virginia: The Verdict

In the Loving v. Virginia case, the United States Supreme Court over-turned the Virginia state law by claiming it was in direct violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, which forces all governments to treat every citizen in an equal manner when passing laws. The government must only pass laws that are in line with the 14th Amendments provision that every citizen has the right to pursuit happiness. In Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court added that the law was not only a violation of the 14th Amendment, but also a violation of an American citizen’s individual freedoms. 

 

Fifth Amendment

Fifth Amendment

A Guide to the Fifth Amendment
The Fifth Amendment, or Amendment V of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that protects you from being held for committing a crime unless you have been indicted correctly by the police. The Fifth Amendment is also where the guarantee of due process comes from, meaning that the state and the country have to respect your legal rights. The Fifth Amendment was introduced as a part of the Bill of Rights into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by ¾ of the states on December 15, 1791.
History of the Fifth Amendment 
Once the United States won their independence from the British Parliament and monarchy that had acted like tyrants, the Framers of the United States Constitution did not trust large, centralized governments. Because of this, the Framers wrote the Bill of Rights, which were the first 10 amendments, to help protect individual freedoms from being hurt by the governmental. They included the Fifth Amendment, which gave five specific freedoms to American citizens. 
Understanding the Fifth Amendment Line by Line
If you are confused by what each line means, here are some explanations to make the Fifth Amendment easier to understand:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury”: No one can be put on trial for a serious crime, unless a grand jury decide first that there is enough proof or evidence so that the trial is needed. If there is enough evidence, an indictment is then issued, which means that the person who is charged with the crime will can put on trial for the crime.
“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”: People in the military can go to trial without a grand jury first deciding that it is necessary. This is the case if the military person commits a crime during a national emergency or a war.
“Nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb”: If someone is put on trial for a certain crime and the trial ends, the person cannot be tried once more for the same crime. If a person is convicted of a crime and then serves his or her time in jail, or if the person is acquitted, he or she cannot be put on trial a second time.
“Nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”: The government does not have the power to make someone testify against himself. That is why a trial uses evidence and witnesses instead of the testimony of the accused person.
“Nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”: The government cannot take away a person’s life, property, or freedom without following certain steps that give the person a fair chance. This is what is known as due process. Due Process helps protect a person’s rights. 
“Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”: The government cannot take away a person’s property for public use without somehow paying them back for it. 

Facts About the Fifth Amendment
The Fifth Amendment was introduced into the Constitution by James Madison.
The ideas in the Fifth Amendment can be traced back to the Magna Carta, which was issued in 1215.
A defendant cannot be punished for using his right to silence during a criminal trial, but there are some consequences to using it in a civil trial.

Sixth Amendment

Sixth Amendment

A Guide to the Sixth Amendment
The Sixth Amendment, or Amendment VI of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that guarantees a citizen a speedy trial, a fair jury, an attorney if the accused person wants one, and the chance to confront the witnesses who is accusing the defendant of a crime, meaning he or she can see who is making accusations. The Sixth Amendment was introduced as a part of the Bill of Rights into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.


Understanding the Sixth Amendment Line by Line
If you are confused by what each line means, here are some good explanations to make the Sixth Amendment easier to understand:
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial”: The person who is accused of a crime has the right to get a quick trial. This line does not mean that the person’s trial will be over in one week. Rather, this line means that the country or state cannot make the person sit in jail for a very long time, for example 5 years, while they for their trial. This would be very unfair to anyone who is not guilty. The person who is accused also has the right to receive a public trial. The state cannot lock the person away and ask questions about the crime. This process must be seen by the public so that it more fair to the accused person.
“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”: The trial has to have an impartial jury. This means that the jurors cannot be prejudiced or biased against the accused individual or the specific crime that the individual has been accused of, or it would be unfair to the accused. The trial also must be held in an area where the crime took place, or else it may also be unfair to the accused.
“And to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him”: The accused person has the right to find out what he or she is being charged with exactly and why he or she is being held in jail. The accused person also has the right to learn who is claiming that he or she committed the crime, along with the right to ask questions.
“To have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense”: The accused person has the right to make anyone attend their trial if they believe that person can help with the case. The court can also force a person to come to a court by using a summons, which means the person will not have choice, and will have to go to the trial. The accused person also has the right to hire an attorney. If he or she cannot afford an attorney, the court can provide one 
Facts about the Sixth Amendment
The Sixth Amendment was put into the Bill of Rights by James Madison
The rights in the Sixth Amendment apply to all the states.
While an accused person can represent himself in a trial, the court can stop this if the accused is not mentally stable.

Lochner v. New York

Lochner v. New York

The case of Lochner v. New York took place in 1905. This case is thought to be one of the most historic and groundbreaking cases in the history of the United States. Lochner v. New York deals with labor laws and it all started when Joseph Lochner, a baker in Utica, New York, argued against state laws that created boundaries on when Mr. Lochner can run his business.

The laws were passed as part of the Bakershop Act. This legislation, which was passed in 1895, prohibited all bakeries in the state from operating over 60 hours during a single week. In response to this law, Joseph Lochner said that if he and his staff wanted to work more than 60 hours in one week, they should be allowed to do so because that’s what the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution permits. This Constitution states that any government in the United States cannot block an individual from pursuing happiness in a legitimate manner. 

Lochner v. New York: The Case Profile

The case of Lochner v. New York took place on February 23rd of 1905. The case was filed by Joseph Lochner because he felt that New York law regarding hours of operation for bakeries were unconstitutional and a direct violation of his civil liberties of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” 

The case of Lochner v. New York was heard on February 23rd of 1905 and was decided on April 17th of the same year. Lochner v. New York was heard in the United States Supreme Court. 

Lochner v. New York: The Verdict

The United States Supreme Court in Lochner v. New York found that the Bakership Act was in direct violation of the United States Constitution. The Court found in Lochner v. New York that the state cannot enforce restrictions on an individual’s business if there was no good reason to pass such a law. Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court ruled that individual states were not able to regulate legal employment—only the federal government can do this. 

The case of Lochner v. New York dealt with the 14th Amendment to the United States which does not allow the government from getting in the way of a citizen’s ability to pursue ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ with regard to all citizens of the nation. This provision to the Constitution is applied to all citizens regardless of a person’s gender, religion, age, or race. And this is the provision that was responsible for deciding the case of Lochner v. New York. 

 

Seventh Amendment

Seventh Amendment

A Guide to the Seventh Amendment
The Seventh Amendment, or Amendment VII of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that guarantees a jury trial for civil cases in the federal courts. However, this type of case is usually not heard anymore in the federal court system. The Seventh Amendment was introduced as a part of the Bill of Rights into the United States Constitution on September 5, 1789 and was voted for by 9 out of 12 states on December 15, 1791.
Understanding the Seventh Amendment Line by Line
If you are confused by what each line means, here are some good explanations to make the Seventh Amendment easier to understand:
“In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved”: When the Seventh Amendment was written in the 1700s, $20 was considered a lot of money. Today, any disputes that involve amounts less than $75000 will not be handled in a federal court. 
“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”: It is against United States law to setting up your own court system. If a person goes to court, he will always go to a court recognized by the government. These courts are often city, country, state, or national courts. 
History of the Seventh Amendment
Before 1688, English judges were servants under the King of England. These judges were often biased towards the King, and because of this, their rulings were not always fair. During the Act of Settlement 1701, English judges won their independence from the king, but judges in the American colonies were still biased towards the king. King George III got rid of trials by juries in the Colonies, which made colonists very upset and fueled the fire that led to the American Revolution. When the Framers wrote the Bill of Rights, they understood how important it was to have a fair court system, so they made sure that the right to have a trial by jury was a fundamental law of the country.

Facts about the Seventh Amendment
The Seventh Amendment was put into the Bill of Rights by James Madison
The $20 dollar clause of the Seventh Amendment is one of the very few portions of the Bill of Rights that were not incorporated by the Supreme Court.

13th Amendment

12th Amendment

William Paterson

James Wilson

United States v. Lopez