A Bill of Rights refresher | theSkimm
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A Bill of Rights refresher | theSkimm

The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments of the Constitution. It lays out the specific rights that individuals have as citizens. The idea for the American Bill of Rights actually came from the British. George Mason helped give us the idea. And then James Madison put it into practice. Talk about teamwork. So the First Amendment is the freedom of Go express yourself. The Second Amendment spells out the right to bear arms. Hotly debated today. The Third Amendment prevents Americans from having to house soldiers. So basically the president can’t make your house a personal AirBnB. The Fourth Amendment says that the US government cannot put any American through unreasonable search and seizure. Basically the government can’t search your property or take your property without a warrant. The Fifth Amendment protects you against self-incrimination. You may have heard somebody say, ‘I plead the fifth.’ You have the right to remain silent. The sixth, seventh and eight continue protecting those rights of you as a citizen if you get accused of a crime. You get a trial by jury. And the government can’t punish you in cruel and unusual ways. The Ninth Amendment says that just because a right is not spelled out in the Constitution or the amendments doesn’t mean it’s a right that you don’t have. Last, but not least, the Tenth. It says that the federal government only has the rights spelled out in the Constitution All other powers are in the hands of the state or you, the individual. Since the Bill of Rights, we’ve had quite a few amendments added to the Constitution. In all there are 27 amendments. Some important ones have been the 13th amendment which called for the abolition of slavery. And the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Although black women really didn’t get that right until the 1960s. Knowing helps better inform and protect you as a citizen.


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