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The Bill of Rights

  Below is the text of the twelve amendments that were proposed
by the first Congress (on September 25, 1789) to address the arguments
that had most frequently been advanced against the Constitution.

View actual Image of 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...

ARTICLES in addition to...


Article the first…

(Never ratified)

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 not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.
 

For additional information on Article the first:
The History of the First — and Now Forgotten — First Amendment
Article the second…
(Ratified as the
27th Amendment
on June 26, 1992)
 

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.
 

For additional information on the Twenty-Seventh Amendment: Findlaw.com 
Article the third…
(Ratified as the
First Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

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. 
 

For additional information on the First Amendment: Findlaw.com

Article the fourth…
(Ratified as the
Second Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

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.
 

For additional information on the Second Amendment: Findlaw.com

Article the fifth…
(Ratified as the
Third Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

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.
 

For additional information on the Third Amendment: Findlaw.com

Article the sixth…
(Ratified as the
Fourth Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

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.
 

For additional information on the Fourth Amendment: Findlaw.com
Article the seventh…
(Ratified as the
Fifth Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

No person shall be held to answer for a 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 offense 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.
 

For additional information on the Fifth Amendment: Findlaw.com
Article the eighth…
(Ratified as the
Sixth Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

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 wherein 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 defence.
 

For additional information on the Sixth Amendment: Findlaw.com
Article the ninth…
(Ratified as the
Seventh Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

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.
 

For additional information on the Seventh Amendment: Findlaw.com
Article the tenth…
(Ratified as the
Eighth Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.  
 

For additional information on the Eighth Amendment: Findlaw.com
Article the eleventh…
(Ratified as the
Ninth Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
 

For additional information on the Ninth Amendment: Findlaw.com
Article the twelfth…
(Ratified as the
Tenth Amendment
on Dec. 15, 1791)

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.
 

For additional information on the Tenth Amendment: Findlaw.com

FREDERICK AUGUSTUS MUHLENBERG Speaker
of the House of Representatives.
JOHN ADAMS, Vice-President of the United States,
and President of the Senate.

ATTEST, JOHN BECKLEY, Clerk of the House of Representatives.
SAM. A. OTIS Secretary of the Senate.
 


“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free ...
it expects what never was and never will be.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Created: 09July2005
 
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