United States Bill of Rights

United States Bill of Rights

] and the other is in the New York Public Library.

North Carolina's copy was stolen by a union soldier in April 1865 and returned to North Carolina in 2005, 140 years later.

Incorporation extends to States

Originally, the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government and not to the several state governments. Parts of the amendments initially proposed by Madison that would have limited state governments ("No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.") were not approved by Congress, and therefore the Bill of Rights did not appear to apply to the powers of state governments. [ Bent, Devin. cite web|title="James Madison proposes Bill of Rights."|url=http://www.jmu.edu/madison/center/main_pages/madison_archives/constit_confed/rights/jmproposal/jmproposal.htm|accessdate=2006-02-28]

Thus, states had established state churches up until the 1820s, and Southern states, beginning in the 1830s, could ban abolitionist literature. In the 1833 case "Barron v. Baltimore", the Supreme Court specifically ruled that the Bill of Rights provided "security against the apprehended encroachments of the general government—not against those of local governments." However, in the 1925 judgment on "Gitlow v. New York", the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment, which had been adopted in 1868, made certain applications of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. The Supreme Court then cited the "Gitlow" case as precedent for a series of decisions that made most, but not all, of the provisions of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states under the doctrine of "selective incorporation".

Display and honoring of the Bill of Rights

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15 to be Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights is on display at the National Archives and Records Administration, [ cite web|url=http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trt013.html|title=American Treasures of the Library of Congress|date=2006-03-13] in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom.

The Rotunda itself was constructed in the 1950s and dedicated in 1952 by President Harry S Truman, who said, "Only as these documents are reflected in the thoughts and acts of Americans, can they remain symbols of power that can move the world. That power is our faith in human liberty …." [ cite web|title="Truman's Remarks in the Rotunda, December 1952"|date=2006-03-14|url=http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/visit/truman_transcript.html]

After fifty years, signs of deterioration in the casing were noted, while the documents themselves appeared to be well-preserved: "But if the ink of 1787 was holding its own, the encasements of 1951 were not … minute crystals and microdroplets of liquid were found on surfaces of the two glass sheets over each document.... The CMS scans confirmed evidence of progressive glass deterioration, which was a major impetus in deciding to re-encase the Charters of Freedom." [ Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler and Catherine Nicholson, cite web|url=http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/charters_preservation_01.html
title="A New Era Begins for the Charters of Freedom."|date=2006-03-14
"Prologue", Fall 2003.

Accordingly, the casing was updated and the Rotunda rededicated on September 17, 2003. In his dedicatory remarks, two hundred and sixteen years after the close of the Constitutional Convention, President George W. Bush stated, "The true [American] revolution was not to defy one earthly power, but to declare principles that stand above every earthly power—the equality of each person before God, and the responsibility of government to secure the rights of all." [ cite web|title="Remarks by President George W. Bush at the Rededication of the National Archives."|url=http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/news/visit_reopening_remarks_bush.html|date=2006-03-14]

In 1991, the Bill of Rights toured the country in honor of its bicentennial, visiting the capitals of all fifty states.

Text of the Bill of Rights


The Preamble to the Bill of Rights:

:"Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine."

:"THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution."

:"RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz."

:"ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution." [cite web|url=http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html|title=Preamble to the Bill of Rights|date=2006-03-10]


* First Amendmentndash Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition

:"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

* Second Amendmentndash Right to keep and bear arms.:"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

* Third Amendmentndash Protection from quartering of troops.:"No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

* Fourth Amendmentndash Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.:"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

* Fifth Amendmentndash due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain.:"No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

* Sixth Amendmentndash Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel:"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."

* Seventh Amendmentndash Civil trial by jury.:"In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

* Eighth Amendmentndash Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.:"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

* Ninth Amendmentndash Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.:"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

* Tenth Amendmentndash Powers of states and people.:"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Proposed amendments not passed with Bill of Rights

* Article Indash Apportionment.:"After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than two hundred representatives, nor more than one representative for every fifty thousand persons."

* Article II (ratified in 1992 as Twenty-seventh Amendment)ndash Congressional pay raises.:"No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened."

ee also

* Bill of Rights
* Bill of Rights Defense Committee
* G. I. Bill of Rights
* Taxpayer Bill of Rights
* U.S. Patients' Bill of Rights
* United States Declaration of Independence
* United States Constitution
* Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom



* Irving Brant; "The Bill of Rights: Its Origin and Meaning" [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=34605556 (1965) online version]
* Ronald Hoffman and Peter J. Albert, eds. "The Bill of Rights: Government Proscribed." University Press of Virginia for the United States Capitol Historical Society, 1997. 463 pp. ISBN 0-8139-1759-X essays by scholars
* Kathleen Krull. "A Kid's Guide to America's Bill of Rights" (1999), 224 pp
* Robert Allen Rutland; "The Birth of the Bill of Rights, 1776–1791" University of North Carolina Press, [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=3179341 (1955) online]
* cite book
author=Spaeth, Harold J.; and Smith, Edward C.
title=HarperCollins College Outline: The Constitution of the United States (13th ed.)
location=New York |publisher=HarperCollins
id=ISBN 0-06-467105-4

External links

U.S Government sites

* National Archives: [http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html The full text of the United States Bill of Rights]
* [http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=13 OurDocuments.gov]
* Library of Congress: [http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/billofrights.html Bill of Rights and related resources]
* Footnote.com (partners with the National Archives): [http://www.footnote.com/viewer.php?

Related documents

* [http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/bill_of_rightss7.html Alexander Hamilton, Federalist, no. 84, 575–81] , on opposition to the Bill of Rights
* [http://www.jmu.edu/madison/center/main_pages/madison_archives/constit_confed/rights/jmproposal/jmspeech.htm#opendoor Madison's June 1789 speech, "Amending the Constitution to include a Bill of Rights."]
* House and Senate procedure and dates concerning the drafting of the Bill of Rights: [http://1stam.umn.edu/main/historic/Bill%20of%20Rights%20debates.htm]

History and analysis

* [http://www.michaellorenzen.com/billofrights.html Examining the American Bill of Rights Using the Ethic of Justice]
* [http://teachingamericanhistory.org/seminars/2004/arkes.html An argument by Amherst College Professor Hadley Arkes, arguing against the Bill of Rights]

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