THE BILL OF RIGHTS AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION SINCE 1791
RATIFICATION The Constitution had no guarantee to protect the rights of the people or the states. Thomas Jefferson himself felt that, “a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth…and what no government should refuse”
RATIFICATION Antifederalists: demanded a bill of rights because they feared the strong central government The states rights are weakened The people need a bill of rights to protect them
RATIFICATION Federalists: insisted the Constitution granted only limited powers to the national government People have the power to protect their own rights through the election of trustworthy leaders The Federalists agree to add a bill of rights to get the states to finally ratify and pass the Constitution
RATIFICATION Delaware- first to ratify Constitution Unanimous vote, 1787 1788- New Hampshire was the 9 th state to ratify Constitution is passed! But… they still needed the approval of the very large, influential states Needed NY and VA to ratify in order to legitimize the Constitution
RATIFICATION Heated debate in Virginia Support of Washington and Madison brought Federalist victory in June 1788 In New York John Jay and Hamilton launched a campaign through the Federalist Papers News of NH and VA’s ratification helped NY ratified on July 26, 1788 Last state to ratify Constitution = Rhode Island (1790)
THE BILL OF RIGHTS State ratifying conventions made a list of 80 amendments to the Constitution that should be included in the new bill of rights Madison read through them all; produced a list for Congress to consider. In 1789, Congress submitted 12 amendments to the state legislatures for ratification By 1791, ¾ of the states had ratified 10 amendments, making them the bill of rights
AMENDMENT I Religious and political freedom Freedom of Religion Freedom of Speech Freedom of Press Freedom of Assembly Freedom to Petition the Government
AMENDMENT V Rights of accused persons No one can be put on trial for a very serious crime, unless the grand jury decides there is enough evidence. Double Jeopardy: No one may be tried for the same crime after having been acquitted. Due process: The government cannot take away someone's life, freedom, or property without following a series of steps that give them a fair chance.
AMENDMENT VI Right to a speedy, public trial The accused has the right to a quick trial. The state cannot make them sit in jail for a long time while they wait to have a trial. That would be unfair to anyone who is innocent. The accused also has the right to a public trial. The state cannot put them in a warehouse and question them about the crime. It must be available to the public so that it is fairer to the accused. The trial must be held by an impartial jury. The trial must also be held in the area where the crime was committed, or else that could be unfair to the accused also.
AMENDMENT VII Trial by jury in civil cases In the 1700s, $20 was a lot more money than it is today. Now, for any dispute involving less than $1500, small claims court will handle the case without a jury.
AMENDMENT VIII Limits of fines and punishments No excessive bail No cruel punishment Number of states that use which method of execution o Firing Squad – 3 o Hanging – 4 o Lethal Gas – 7 o Electric Chair – 11 o Lethal Injection – 33 Since 1976 there have been 628 inmates executed. No unusual punishment
AMENDMENT IX Rights of people There are certain rights listed in the Constitution, but that does not mean that there aren't other rights that the people have that are not listed.
AMENDMENT X Powers of states and people The governmental powers not listed in the Constitution for the national government are powers that the states can have. Examples: The states determine the rules for marriages, divorces, driving licenses, voting, state taxes, job and school requirements, rules for police and fire departments, etc. States regulate many of our rights, not the national government.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS The Bill of Rights did not apply to all Americans… Native Americans and slaves were excluded Women were not mentioned Free blacks did not receive protection either
ACTIVITY Work by yourself and decide which amendment is the most important for citizens living in this country. If you could only have one amendment to protect you, which would it be? Then, work in a small group of 3 or 4 and compare your answers. Try to decide by agreement which amendment is the most important to the group.
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