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US-VA SOL Review: The Amendments

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1 US-VA SOL Review: The Amendments
1st Amendment 4th Amendment 13th Amendment 14th Amendment 15th Amendment 16th Amendment 17th Amendment 18th Amendment 19th Amendment 21st Amendment 24th Amendment 26th Amendment US-VA SOL Review: The Amendments CHANGES TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, FROM THE BILL OF RIGHTS IN 1791 TO 1971…

2 The bill of rights The first ten amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. They were added to the Constitution after it was ratified – and all in one fell swoop. James Madison was the author of the Bill of Rights. Many of our rights are preserved by these amendments: the right to free speech, a free press, and the right to assemble. Freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, the right to a speedy trial, and a trial by jury. It also keeps of free from unlawful searches and seizures of property.

3 The first Amendment The First Amendment forbids Congress from establishing a national religion, and guarantees freedom of speech, a free press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights and Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom both influenced the First Amendment to the Constitution.

4 The fourth amendment The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unlawful searches and seizure of your property by the government. It has been violated in the past by the government: The Palmer Raids of the 1920s, for example, or more recently The Patriot Act of 2003.

5 The reconstruction amendments
After the Civil War, a series of amendments were passed by the so-called “Radical Republicans” which were intended to provide former slaves with both liberty and citizenship rights. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments gave “Freedmen” greater rights.

6 The 13th amendment The 13th Amendment officially ended slavery in the United States. You will recall that Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which freed slaves in parts of the South which were still in rebellion. But the 13th Amendment ended slavery everywhere – in the South and in the “Border States.” Slavery was over.

7 The 14th amendment The 14th Amendment went even farther. It granted citizenship rights to any person born in the United States of American – including the enslaved and ex-Confederate soldiers. The Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed equal protection under the law. Thurgood Marshall argued that segregation violated the “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment in Brown V. Board of Education, Topeka, KS – which ended segregation in the public schools in 1954.

8 The 15th amendment The 15th Amendment stated that African-American men could vote – and that the right to vote could not be denied on the basis of race or previous condition of servitude. Unfortunately, other obstacles to the vote, like the poll tax, literacy test, and violent intimidation continued to prevent African-Americans from exercising suffrage rights. Even after the 15th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, obstacles to African-American voting rights persisted: The Literacy Test The Poll Tax Violent Intimidation of Voters

9 The progressive amendments
The Progressives were reformers who sought increase democratic participation and economic equality by working through the government to change laws. Progressives passed and ratified four amendments to the Constitution, three of which were very successful in improving our democracy: The 16th Amendment – the Progressive Income Tax The 17th Amendment – the Direct Election of Senators The 18th Amendment – Prohibition The 19th Amendment – Woman’s Suffrage The 18th Amendment – prohibition of alcohol – was so unsuccessful that it had to be repealed. The 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed to repeal the 18th.

10 16th amendment The 16th Amendment to the Constitution created an income tax. It taxed the wealthiest members of society at the highest rate, and the poorest members of society at a much lower rate. The money from the income tax is used to fund government programs today – from paying the military to funding welfare programs and national parks.

11 The 17th amendment The 17th Amendment expanded democracy by allowing voters to elect their Senators directly. Formerly, state legislatures – like the Virginia General Assembly – elected Senators. Now, voters choose for themselves. In Virginia, our current Senators are Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D).

12 The 18th Amendment The 18th Amendment to the Constitution outlawed the manufacturing of alcohol, the transportation of alcohol, and the sale of alcohol. It was passed with the best of intentions, however, the law was so frequently broken that organized crime soon develop to satisfy the high demand for illegal bootleg liquor. This amendment was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment to the Constitution.

13 The 19th amendment In terms of American democracy, the 19th Amendment was the most important amendment to the Constitution ever ratified, because it established woman’s suffrage. It gave women – the majority of Americans, by the way, are women – the right to vote. It was passed in 1919.

14 The 21st Amendment

15 The 24th amendment The 24th Amendment to the Constitution is not very well known, but it was extremely important. In 1964, the 24th Amendment was ratified in order to ban the poll tax. This was a tax which all voters had to pay, making it more difficult for the poor to participate in elections. You may be surprised to learn that only five states still had the poll tax when it was banned in 1964 – and Virginia was one of those five states.

16 The 26th amendment The 26th Amendment lowered the voting age from 21 years of age to 18 years of age. It occurred during the Vietnam War, when many 18 year olds were begin drafted and sent off to war by a government which they had played no role in electing. Since they bore the burden of the government’s war, it was only fair that 18 years olds should be eligible to vote in national elections.

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