James Madison helped the Constitution get ratified by adding a Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights protects our “essential liberties”.
The rights granted to us in the First Amendment are:
Freedom of Religion, the government cannot support one religion over another
Freedom of Speech and Press, gives people the right to express their own opinions but does not allow chaos-provocation/threatening/lying, etc.
Freedom of Assembly and Petition, allows citizens to address their government with concerns by gathering peacefully or submitting and formal request ( petition ).
The Second Amendment
The provides for the “Right to bear arms”, meaning that citizens have a right to protect themselves and their country.
It also sets up “Militias”, which today is The National Guard for individual states.
The Third and Fourth Amendments
The Third prohibits the military from forcing citizens to provide housing for soldiers.
The Fourth makes “unreasonable searches and seizures” illegal, and says that authorities need to have a search warrant , or judge’s order, to search you or your property.
Both of these amendments were responses to things that happened under the British.
The Fifth Amendment
This says that a court cannot indict , or charge, someone with a crime without enough evidence.
It also says that a person doesn’t have to testify against him/herself at their trial.
Anyone found not guilty for a crime cannot be tried for the same crime later, which is called double jeopardy .
The last part of this amendment states that the gov cannot take someone’s property unless by eminent domain , meaning the gov will take your property to further public interest (think building a highway)
The Sixth and Seventh Amendment
The Sixth says that a person must have a quick trial and know exactly what they are accused of, that way people are wasting away in prison for an unknown reason.
The Seventh says that juries can decide civil cases between people (like arguments over property or borrowing money without paying it back). Civil means not criminally related.
The Eighth Amendment
Prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment
States that people can post bail to get out of jail until their trial starts
Prevents juries from setting bail amounts too high
The Ninth and Tenth Amendment
The Ninth states that people still have rights that may not be explicitly listed in the Constitution, (like education).
The Tenth Amendment says that the states and people have all powers that are not SPECIFICALLY given to the central government. It balances power between the state and national government.