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The Bill of Rights
Listen to the Bill of Rights here!
The Bill of Rights is the name used to refer to the first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It guarantees basic rights to citizens of the United States and came into effect on December 15, 1791. The Bill of Rights plays a central role in American law and government, and remains a fundamental symbol of the freedoms and culture of the nation.
James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights.
It was a response to opponents of the new U.S. Constitution. They argued that it failed to protect basic principles of human liberty.
One of the original copies of the Bill of Rights
is on public display at
the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
1 Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.
2 Right to keep and bear arms to maintain a well regulated militia.
3 No quartering of soldiers.
4 Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
5 Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, double jeopardy.
6 Rights of accused persons, e.g., right to a speedy & public trial.
7 Right of trial by jury in civil cases.
8 Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments.
9 Other rights of the people.
10 Powers reserved to the states.
Summary of the Bill of Rights