What is the 9th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution about?

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enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to expressly limit the power of the Federal government.  The Founders were well aware of what happens when power becomes consolidated under a handful or one individual; the first government of the young United States (Articles of Confederation) purposely kept the federal government weak to check autocratic tendencies.

The Enlightenment philosophy from which the Constitution was written implies that individuals have innumerable Rights. The document was intended to structure the government and clearly define what it could and could not do.  The Bill of Rights was added to make sure not that Rights were preserved, but that government remained contained.  The Ninth and Tenth Amendments were added to explicitly state that the Billl of Rights was not an exclusive list of Rights, and that individuals still retained all Rights, whether specified in the Constitution or not.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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What the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says is that the rights that were listed in the rest of the document and in the Bill of Rights do not include all the rights that people have.  It says that just because some rights are listed doesn't mean other rights don't exist.

At the time of the writing of the Bill of Rights, the Anti-Federalists were very suspicious of the central government, which is why they forced the Federalists to add the Bill of Rights.  They thought the federal government would take away their rights if it could.

Because they thought this, they wanted the 9th Amendment added in case there were other rights that they had neglected to mention before.  The 9th Amendment was meant to protect these.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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On a more modern level, the 9th Amendment gives you and I many of the freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis.  Essentially, whatever freedom isn't expressly prohibited by law or the Constitution is automatically granted to you.  So for example, I can plan a vacation to Florida tomorrow, tell no one, take a car, a bus and a train and not need to even show my ID as long as I don't break the law.  The freedom to travel and move about freely within our borders as citizens is a result of the 9th Amendment.  This assures us that our freedoms - all of them - will not be taken away without at least the consent of our representatives.

atyourservice's profile pic

atyourservice | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The 9th amendment protects other rights not listed on the constitution. It is there to assure other freedoms/ rights that are not freedom of speech, freedom of religion ect... are also protected by the law.

taangerine's profile pic

taangerine | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The 9th amendment protects rights that not listed on the constitution. 

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