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Bill of Rights – The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution


This Page Describes the Addition of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution in 1791.


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Bill of Rights U.S. Postage Stamp


Bill of Rights Activities on

Bill of Responsibilities – This exercise requires students to analyze the differences between rights and responsibilities and allows them to create a mini-constitution that outlines four responsibilities they believe people should be required to fulfill as citizens of the United States.
License Plate Preamble – Awesome activity for students to use on Constitution Day. The preamble of the Constitution is mixed on U.S. vanity license plates. Students must cut out the plates and arrange them in order so that together they form the preamble.
Amendments Matching – This is an interactive exercise where students must match the text with its correct amendment.
Constitution Interactive Scavenger Hunt – Students must use the interactive constitution to answer the multiple choice and fill-in-the-blanks questions. Great for exploring the Constitution!

The Bill of Rights

Despite the ratification of the United States Constitution, American citizens became concerned that there was no formal document to outline their personal freedoms. Many politicians, however, believed a bill of rights was not necessary for a government based on popular consent. Furthermore, individual state constitutions already guaranteed many rights. When the first Congress met in New York in 1789, most members voted to include a bill of rights because they promised the people they would. Even though James Madison was against it, he helped guide the amendments through Congress. On December 15, 1791 ten out of twelve proposed amendments were ratified. The Bill of Rights is still the first ten amendments in the U.S. Constitution today.

Below is the Bill of Rights

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their 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 ensure the beneficent ends of its institution. ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Amendment I

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 II

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 III

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 IV

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 V

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 offence 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 VI

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 defence.

Amendment VII

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 re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

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.