Constitutional Amendments• The Constitution is not perfect, and was not meant to be• The reason it has survived for more than 230 years is because it can be changed through the amendment process• Our Constitution has been amended 27 times• The process can be difficult, often taking several years for an amendment to be passed
The Amendment Process To Propose: To ratify: • 3/4ths of the states vote to• Amendment is proposed by approve the amendment 2/3rds of both the House & Senate (only method ever OR used) • States call a special convention OR to ratify (used only once)• 2/3rds of the states petition • States usually get 7 years to for a National convention decide on an amendment
The Bill of Rights The 1st 10 Amendments were passed nearly immediately after the Constitution was approved. They were a compromise betweenthe anti-federalists (who refused to support theConstitution without them) and the Federalists. These amendments reflect what the framersfelt were the most important rights Americans should have, and highlighted their fear of a strong government.
1st Amendment• Protects our most basic freedoms… – Speech – Religion – Press – Assembly (the right to gather to protest) – Petition
2nd Amendment• 2nd Amendment grants the right to bear arms.• This is possibly the most controversial of all the amendments, as the wording is vague and can be interpreted in many ways.
Right to Privacy• 3rd Amendment – Government cannot force you to house soldiers in your home• 4th Amendment – Protection from unreasonable searches & seizures of property (This is why search warrants are required)
Due Process & Legal Rights• 5th Amendment – No double jeopardy, cannot be jailed without cause, do not have to testify against yourself, government cannot take your land without paying• 6th Amendment – Right to a fair and speedy trial by jury, you can question witnesses• 7th Amendment – Trial by jury in civil cases (lawsuits)• 8th Amendment – Protection from cruel & unusual punishment
Keeping government small• 9th Amendment – People have many rights that are not listed in the Constitution, the government cannot interfere with them• 10th Amendment – Any power not mentioned in the Constitution is given to the states
Civil War Amendments• All passed in the years following the Civil War in response to slavery and discrimination• 13th Amendment – Abolishes slavery• 14th Amendment – defines citizenship and who is protected by all the rights of the constitution. Specifically says that these rights cannot be denied because of race.• 15th Amendment – Grants African-Americans the right to vote
Voting Rights Amendments• 15th (from previous page)• 19th Amendment – Grants women the right to vote• 24th Amendment – Outlaws poll taxes• 26th Amendment – Lowers the voting age from 21 to 18