What are the First 10 Amendments Called?

Photo of US Constitution

There was difficulty getting the United States Constitution ratified because many states felt that it gave to much power to the Federal Government and not enough to the people.

Therefore, 10 amendments were created to try and persuade certain states.

What are the first 10 amendments called?

The first 10 amendments are called the Bill of Rights.

To find out more about the Bill of Rights and the 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, continue reading.

The United States Bill of Rights

Throughout America’s history and the birth of the United States Constitution, there are ten amendments that have proved vital to the country’s development as the greatest nation in the world.

Photo of US Constitution

These ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. As the first and most significant amendments to the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights focus solely and squarely on the individual rights and freedoms of the American people, acting as a safeguard against any potential overreach perpetrated by the federal or state government.

Below, we’ll examine the Bill of Rights, the reason for its existence, and why it was created in the first place.

What is the Bill of Rights?

The Bill of Rights, simply put, are the first ten amendments added to the US Constitution, first enacted in 1791. They include the following:

First Amendment – The Freedom of Speech

The First Amendment is considered the most important amendment throughout the entirety of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as a whole. It protects the American people from governmental sanctions and attacks for expressing unpopular or offensive opinions and from persecution due to their particular religious or faith-based beliefs.

Photo of US citizens at a rally
The right to freedom of speech is cherished by citizens of the United States.

The First Amendment similarly protects the rights of journalists from persecution by the government, allowing them to serve as watchdogs for corruption or an abuse of power.

The Freedom of Speech is our most vital freedom. It allows citizens the right and ability to freely communicate thoughts and ideas, regardless of what the governmental powers deem to be allowed at that period in time.

Second Amendment – The Right to Bear Arms

A somewhat divisive amendment with multiple interpretations, the Second Amendment essentially states that the people have the right to bear arms in defense of a free state. This sentiment has been considered and interpreted in multiple ways depending on a person’s personal views surrounding guns and gun control.

Photo of a hand gun
The Second Amendment continues to divide American opinion to this day.

Advocates for guns argue that the Second Amendment’s final line on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” clearly states that the right to carry guns is guaranteed.

Meanwhile, those who advocate for gun control and gun safety contend that the line “A well-regulated militia” implies that only an established militia should be allowed to carry guns and only guns that are appropriately regulated.

Third Amendment – The Freedom Against Quartering of Soldiers

A reasonably simple amendment, the Third Amendment, states that no citizen is legally required to allow a member of the military or armed forces to reside in their home or private property.

Photo of Revolutionary War reenactment
The British Parliament’s Quartering Acts forced the American people to allow soldiers to quarter in their private homes or on their property.

While not as contentious as the others on this list, this freedom is important, particularly considering the British parliament’s Quartering Acts, which forced military men into private homes during the Revolutionary War.

Fourth Amendment – The Freedom Against Search & Seizure

Considered by many to be either unnecessarily broad or a freedom that is constantly ignored by many police and governmental officials, the Fourth Amendment is stated to protect against illegal search and seizure, especially without probable cause.

Because this has been interpreted multiple ways, many police may abuse the inclusive statement of “probable cause” to perform unlawful searches in homes or of a person’s property.

Fifth Amendment – The Right to Due Process

The Fifth Amendment guarantees an American the right to due process. It can also be invoked to avoid self-incrimination when speaking on trial. This is primarily because, while a person is under oath, they are bound to speak honestly. By invoking the Fifth Amendment, they can prevent themselves from potentially incriminating themselves while not committing perjury.

The Sixth Amendment – The Right to a Speedy Trial

The Sixth Amendment is pretty straightforward as it guarantees the accused a trial as quickly as possible while also in public and among a jury of their peers. This is because, before its introduction, the accused could be placed in holding for their trial indefinitely or given “secret trials” where there may not be fairness or impartiality.

Seventh Amendment – The Right to a Jury Trial in Civil Suits

The Seventh Amendment states that all accused are guaranteed a jury trial, regardless of the severity of the crime.

The Eighth Amendment – The Freedom Against Cruel & Unusual Punishment

Eighth Amendment ensures that those convicted of a crime are not forced to pay excessive fines, given unjust jail time sentencing, or given cruel or unusual forms of punishment.

This was in response to the more gruesome methods of performing capital punishment by those convicted of a crime, both in the early Americas and throughout British history.

Ninth Amendment – The Enumeration of Certain Rights Shall not be Used Against Others

The Ninth Amendment guarantees that Americans are protected outside of the specific first ten amendments. This is because it is impossible to go over every single right and freedom a person is entitled to.

Tenth Amendment – Rights Reserved by States or People

Finally, the Tenth Amendment ensures that people and states are guaranteed any powers not expressly given to the federal government. This was meant as a way to ensure that the federal government’s power never extended beyond the checks and balances put into place by the Constitution.

Why was the Bill of Rights created?

The Bill of Rights was first implemented largely due to the Articles of Confederation’s weakness and the proposed overall strength of the US Constitution.

However, while the Constitution was widely regarded as a superior structure compared to the Articles because many feared a potential abuse in power granted to the federal government, it was advised that a Bill of Rights be included.

This Bill of Rights was drafted by James Madison and currently sits as the benchmark for all civil rights and liberties given to free people.

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