What was added to the Constitution that listed rights not already in the Constitution?

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Nov 7, 2016


The Bill of Rights.


The Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the constitution, and are primarily focused on protecting the rights of average citizens from government over-reach. They are as follows:


First: The protection of Religion, The Press, Free Speech, and the right to Assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. (That last bit means the people have a right to argue with the government for having done things that caused harm to citizens. It's a big deal when you think about the relationship of the citizens to their previous leader who was a king and regarded to be above the law.)

Second: This one concerns itself with maintaining militias and the rights of citizens to bear arms. (This one is like touching lightning to get too deep into, and I'd prefer to not give my personal opinion on which side of the debate is correct with regards to what this Amendment truly means.)

Third: Has to do with the quartering of soldiers in times of peace. (What this means is, the government can not force a person to house soldiers except in times of war when it is specifically prescribed by law. It is essentially saying, "Hey Government, if you want a standing army, you'll need to provide for them yourself, and you can't put it on the people without their consent.")

Fourth: This is about search and seizure of citizens. It says the government can not search a person's home, property, or self, without an issued warrant. Further, it says that the warrant can not be issued without probable cause. (This is one of our most unique Rights as Americans. This Amendment says the government has to go through certain steps before they can search you. Now, they can ask for permission to search, and a person can give it, but if they are told, "No." they need to go to a judge and get a warrant. The judge will want to know why they suspect a person of any crime that requires a search.)

Fifth: This Amendment says that citizens do not have to answer questions which would incriminate themselves. It also provides for due process, prevents double jeopardy (Which is when a person is tried for a crime after they have been found innocent of the same crime, that's a big deal for the United States.) and that when eminent domain is used to take property from a citizen against their will, they must be fairly compensated.

Sixth: Provides for a speedy trial, and the right to a jury of one's peers. It also guarantees the right for the accused to face their accuser; that the accused will be informed of the crime for which they are being tried; and that the accused will have the right to bring witnesses on his or her behalf.

Seventh: That civil suits shall be for damages in excess of $20. (This Amendment is pretty much protecting people from being sued frivolously.)

Eighth: Protects against "Cruel and Unusual Punishment." It specifies also that excessive bail and fines shall not be imposed. (This one's a really big deal. It states at the founding of The United States that we as a Country will not be cruel in the carrying out of punishment, which pretty much separated us from the behavior of the known World at the time. Even to this day it's a guiding principal that many other countries don't follow.)

Ninth: This one is very cool, and often overlooked. It says that just because the Constitution has outlined certain rights, doesn't mean that there are not other rights. It's saying there CAN be more rights beyond these, but these are the ones we chose to enshrine in the Constitution. It's the reason why there are more Amendments that give more rights, and why there are rights that have come to be through precedent.

Tenth: This one says powers that are not expressly given nor denied by the Constitution will be the purview of the States. This is often referred to as "State's Rights," and much like the Second Amendment, I'm not touching it with a ten foot pole! VERY contentious issues come up from the Tenth. When you hear anyone start talking about State's Rights, or the Tenth Amendment, beware... There be dragons here!

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