Principles of American Democracy
What Do We Call the First Ten Amendments to the Constitution

What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. These amendments were ratified on December 15, 1791, and they outline specific protections for individual liberties and justice, and place restrictions on the power of the government.

Here is a brief overview of each amendment:

  • First Amendment: Protects the rights of freedom of religion (prohibiting the government from establishing a religion and protecting the right to free exercise of religion), freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  • Second Amendment: Protects the right to keep and bear arms.

  • Third Amendment: Prohibits the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent during peacetime.

  • Fourth Amendment: Protects against unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause.

  • Fifth Amendment: Sets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same crime).

  • Sixth Amendment: Protects the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury, the right to be informed of the charges, the right to confront the accuser, the right to obtain witnesses, and the right to counsel.

  • Seventh Amendment: Provides for the right to a trial by jury in certain civil cases and inhibits courts from overturning a jury's findings of fact.

  • Eighth Amendment: Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment.

  • Ninth Amendment: Asserts the existence of unenumerated rights retained by the people. This means that there are other rights that people have that may not be specifically listed in the Constitution.

  • Tenth Amendment: Provides that 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. This outlines the principle of federalism in the U.S. constitutional system.

These ten amendments form a crucial part of the U.S. Constitution, providing safeguards for individual liberty and limiting government power.