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Bill of Rights

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Amendments 1-10 of the Constitution

The Conventions of a number of the States having, at the time of 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 insure 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, namely:

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Assembly 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 VI - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses  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 II - Right to 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 VII - Trial by Jury in Civil Cases  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 III - 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 VIII - Cruel and Unusual Punishment  Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.




Amendment IV - Search and Seizure  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 IX - Construction of Constitution  The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.



Amendment V - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings  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 X - Powers of the States and 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.




The first ten amendments, commonly known as a group as the Bill of Rights, were all ratified at once. The amendments were proposed on September 25, 1789.

# State Date *
1 New Jersey Nov 20, 1789  
2 Maryland Dec 19, 1789  
3 North Carolina Dec 22, 1789  
4 South Carolina Jan 19, 1790  
5 New Hampshire Jan 25, 1790  
6 Delaware Jan 28, 1790  
7 New York Feb 24, 1790  
8 Pennsylvania Mar 10, 1790  
9 Rhode Island Jun 7, 1790  
10 Vermont Nov 3, 1791  
11 Virginia Dec 15, 1791 *
12 Massachusetts Mar 2, 1939  
13 Georgia Mar 18, 1939  
14 Connecticut Apr 19, 1939  
Ratified in 811 days

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