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The Bill of Rights is the term that is used to refer to the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States.  These amendments were all ratified at the same time in 1791.  They were proposed because some people were afraid that the federal government would trample on...

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The Bill of Rights is the term that is used to refer to the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States.  These amendments were all ratified at the same time in 1791.  They were proposed because some people were afraid that the federal government would trample on the rights of the people under the new Constitution.  To ease these fears, these ten amendments were proposed.  These amendments protect some of the most basic rights that we all have as citizens.  For example, it is these amendments that protect the freedom of speech and the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

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The Bill of Rights refers to the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.  The first national elections for the new government occurred in 1789.  One of the priorities for the new federal government was to amend the Constitution.  Several of the colonies ratified the document on the condition such amendments would be instituted to protect the individual liberties of the citizen.  Therefore, 17 amendments were passed by the House of Representatives and 12 of those passed the Senate.  The amendments were sent to the states for ratification, and ten were ratified quickly gaining the final vote in Virginia in 1791.  These amendments became known as the Bill of Rights.

A brief overview of the Bill of Rights:

1st - Freedom of speech, the press, religion, assembly and the right to petition the government.

2nd - Right to bear arms.

3rd - Government cannot house the military in civilian housing without compensation.

4th - Protects against unreasonable search and seizure.  Requires warrants must be issued only with probable cause and naming the items to be seized.

5th - Protection against trail without indictment, double jeopardy, self-incrimination and property seizure.

6th - Guarantees the right to a speedy trial, informed of the charges, the right to confront your accuser, ability to call witnesses and obtain legal counsel.

7th - Provides for the right to a trial by jury.

8th - Protection against excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.

9th - Prevents the rights granted by the Constitution from infringing upon other rights.

10th - All powers not reserved by the federal government will belong to the states.

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