Bill of Rights
Words nearby Bill of Rights
What is the Bill of Rights?
The Bill of Rights is the document that contains the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States, which state the basic rights of all American citizens.
The Constitution of the United States is the document that serves as the fundamental law of the country. An amendment is a change to something. An amendment to the Constitution is any text added to the original document since its ratification in 1788. The Constitution has been amended 27 times in American history.
The Bill of Rights contains the first 10 amendments. While the rest of the Constitution states what the government can do, the Bill of Rights says what it cannot do and, as a result, it guarantees basic rights to all Americans. More detailed information of the specifics of each amendment can be found on their own pages, but here are some of the rights stated in the Bill of Rights:
- Freedom of speech: Americans are free to express their opinions and criticize the government without fear of retaliation from the government.
- Freedom of religion: Americans are free to practice any religion they want. There is no state religion in the United States.
- Right to bear arms: The Second Amendment allows Americans to own weapons when they follow local and state laws.
The amendments in the Bill of Rights have been involved in many Supreme Court cases and have limited the government’s power. Today, many of the rights and freedoms that Americans cherish are still protected by law in the Bill of Rights.
Why is Bill of Rights important?
The first records of bill of rights come from around 1689 and refer to a collection of rights under England’s monarchy. The first records of Bill of Rights to refer to a potential list of basic rights of American citizens come from around 1787, during the Constitutional Convention.
The original text of the US Constitution states what powers the federal government has and how it is to be organized. The text doesn’t say, however, what protected rights American citizens have or what the government is not able to do. The Antifederalists, who supported a limited government, were worried that the government would be too powerful and be capable of tyranny if the law did not place limits on it. The Federalists argued that a bill of rights was unnecessary because, to them at least, it was obvious that Americans had basic rights that the government couldn’t take away. The Federalists also feared that any list of rights would be too small and that it would be assumed that Americans only had the rights that were specifically stated in the Constitution.
During the debates surrounding the creation of the Constitution, the Antifederalists, such as Thomas Jefferson, clearly opposed any constitution that didn’t state what rights citizens had that the government could not deny them. Without Antifederalist support, there were not enough votes in Congress to pass the bill. So, the two sides agreed that the Constitution would be ratified under the condition that the Bill of Rights would be immediately added to it.
By December 1791, the states had ratified 10 of 12 amendments Congress had passed. These 10 amendments became the Bill of Rights and were added to the Constitution.
Did you know … ?
One of the amendments originally stated in Madison’s proposal was passed by Congress in 1789 but not ratified by the states until 1992! What is now the Twenty-seventh Amendment was passed by Congress alongside the amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, but it failed to achieve ratification by the states when it was originally submitted.
What are real-life examples of Bill of Rights?
Pictured above is the Bill of Rights, which is located in the National Archives Museum, alongside the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Most Americans learn about the Bill of Rights in school. Americans are very protective of the rights given to them by this important document.
I’m a historian and I can tell you, that’s in the bill of rights somewhere
— Social Jedi Warrior (@starwarsnerdPKP) June 28, 2021
James Madison — fourth American President, "Father of the Constitution," and chief author of the Bill of Rights — died on this day in 1836. LibraryThing members have cataloged 472 books that he owned. You can explore his Legacy Library here:https://t.co/oKaKkZxXCI pic.twitter.com/OxmzQSi3lX
— LibraryThing.com (@LibraryThing) June 28, 2021
What other words are related to Bill of Rights?
True or False?
The Bill of Rights contains the first twelve amendments to the US Constitution.
How to use Bill of Rights in a sentence
In Maryland, lawmakers abolished the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, which had set up special protections for officers in the disciplinary system.Bill aims to expand authority of D.C. police oversight board, make officers’ discipline records public|Peter Hermann, Michael Brice-Saddler|July 14, 2021|Washington Post
His 700-page narrative covers the “main constitutional episodes” that Americans faced as they revolted against Britain, created a Constitution and Bill of Rights, and built a new nation.How a decades-long conversation shaped the young United States|Kenneth Mack|May 14, 2021|Washington Post
We need to pass a National Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights.
Rashad was there to celebrate the release of the Civil Rights drama Selma.
“Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV,” she continued.
True, this may not be what James Madison had in mind when he was writing the Bill of Rights.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too|John Avlon|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
But at the heart of this “Truther” conspiracy theory is the idea that “someone” wants to destroy Bill Cosby.
Would the Democrats rescind those rights if they were to return to power?The Black Man Who Replaced Jefferson Davis in the Senate|Philip Dray|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The lack of bill buyers in foreign countries who will quote as low rates on dollar as on sterling bills.Readings in Money and Banking|Chester Arthur Phillips
Several able speakers had made long addresses in support of the bill when one Mr. Morrisett, from Monroe, took the floor.
He is what the bill wishes to make for us, a regular root doctor, and will suit the place exactly.
For example, there is a vast discussion afoot upon the questions that centre upon Property, its rights and its limitations.The Salvaging Of Civilisation|H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
Then, you know, she had no right to play in the Rooms again; she was supposed to pay her hotel bill, and leave Monte Carlo.Rosemary in Search of a Father|C. N. Williamson
British Dictionary definitions for Bill of Rights
Cultural definitions for Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Among other provisions, they protect the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and the press (see First Amendment) (see also First Amendment); restrict governmental rights of search and seizure; and list several rights of persons accused of crimes (see Fifth Amendment).