The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments in the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights was passed by congress September 25, 1789 and was later ratified December 15, 1791. All ten of the amendments play an important role in our government and ensure essential rights and civil liberties. The three most important amendments in the Bill of rights are the first, second, and sixth amendments. These amendments were important then, and are still in affect today.
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The first amendment of the constitution states “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” (History.org). “This means that ideas can be expressed, groups can gather to protest, and everyone can have the freedom to be able to worship or believe however they choose” (Legal Institute). “Most parts of this amendment reflect the framers’ experience with the long history of religious hardships in Europe” (U.S. Institutions). It was realized that different religions can cause a lot of controversy and disruption in politics. This just ensured that the federal government could not interfere in anyone’s practice of religion. This still applies and is in effect today just as it was then.
The second amendment of the constitution states “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” (History.org). “This means that the United States allows citizens to own firearms. The primary reason of this is to ensure the security of a free state” (Mastison). This particular amendment has changed and been revised several times throughout history because it is so controversial. “The Second Amendment originally applied only to the federal government, leaving the states to regulate weapons as they saw fit” (Lund). This amendment today applies to citizens that own firearms. The primary reason of this is mainly for self-defense. “Having a firearm is an insurance policy to help us deal with real world dangers. While we pray that we never have to use it, we are prepared for the worst” (Mastison).
The sixth amendment of the constitution states “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 defense” (History.org). “This means anyone that is accused of a crime gets protection by a quick and public trial, an impartial jury, and to be informed of criminal charges” (National Archives). “The Framers of the Constitution made the statement more artfully when they wrote that the accused in every criminal prosecution “shall enjoy the right to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense” (Stull).
These three amendments; the first, second, and sixth were very important then and still apply and are in effect today. They all play an important role in our government and ensure us essential right and civil liberties. The U.S constitution would not be what it is today without the Bill of Rights and specifically these three amendments.
- “Bill of Rights.” Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/billofrights.
- “Bill of Rights and Later Amendments to the United States Constitution.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, http://www.ushistory.org/documents/amendments.htm.
- Stull, Brian. “The Importance of the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel in Capital Cases.” American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union, 9 July 2018, https://www.aclu.org/blog/smart-justice/mass-incarceration/importance-sixth-amendment-right-counsel-capital-cases.
- “The Bill of Rights: What Does It Say?” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights/what-does-it-say.
- “The Second Amendment.” Second Amendment | The National Constitution Center, https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/amendment-ii/interps/99.
- Voa. “U.S. Institutions - Why Is the First Amendment Important?” VOA, Editorials on Voice of America, 22 Feb. 2017, https://editorials.voa.gov/a/the-importance-of-the-first-amendment-/3733070.html.
- “Why the Second Amendment Is Important.” 1st Freedom, https://www.americas1stfreedom.org/articles/2018/6/11/why-the-second-amendment-is-important/.
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