Constitutional Amendments and The Bill Of Rights


In 1789, when the constitution was trying to be ratified, the people of demanded that a bill of rights be included in order for the Constitution to become law. Seeing this, the framers got James Madison to draft the first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill Of Rights. They would be set in place along with the Constitution.

Here is the rights that each of the first ten amendments give to the citizens of the United States Of America

Amendment 1- Freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to practice any religion, freedom to gather and protest the government peacefully.

Amendment 2- Right for states to haven a militia and/or armed guards

Amendment 3- Government cannot house soldiers in private places in peace-time without permission of the owner. In war-time, the government does reserve the right.

Amendment 4- Officers of the law must have a warrant in order to search or arrest a person

Amendment 5- Citizens have the right to trail by jury

Amendment 6- Citizens have the right to a local trial and to appeal the court's ruling

Amendment 7-Citizens have the right to sue

Amendment 8-The Court shall not charge excessive bail or make unfair rulings

Amendment 9-The constitution and it's amendments cannot be prohibited by the state or local governments

Amendment 10- All powers not given to the federal government go to the state government or the people.

Think about each of these amendments. They, along with the Constitution, should have given civil rights to all Americans. It didn't happen though. It would take more amendments, Court Cases, and lot's of protest for these rights in The Bill Of Rights to be given to all Americans.

Also in American history, there have been 16 other amendments to the constitution (26 in all). The first ten are the most important, but some of the other had a large effect on the civil rights movement. Here is some of the other amendments and what they did for the civil rights movement.

Amendment 13 (1865)- Outlawed the practice of slavery or forced work without pay in the united states

Amendment 14 (1868)- No government, federal, state, or local shall deny any citizen of their rights given by the constitution or any of it's amendments.

Amendment 15 (1870)- All American Citizens shall have the right to vote. They shall not be denied based their race, color, or any other bases of minority.

Amendment 26 (1971)- All Citizens, 18 or older, shall have the right to vote, and cannot be denied this based on age.

Amendment 14, which should have given civil rights to all, was passed in 1868, shortly after the Civil War. Why then, was segregation not ended in the south until the 1960's? If the 15th amendment says that all American Citizens can vote, than why were women not granted that right until the 1920's? These are question many have asked themselves, and it is still a question we struggle with today. It shows that our democracy is not perfect, and it has it's flaws. Things got better though (it took long enough!), and we are still a strong country today because of our process of working things out peacefully.

Note: The other amendments are important, but do not directly tie into civil rights. For more info on the amendments go to <www1.umn.edu/education/amendments>