The Bill of Rights
The average American probably has heard of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is on the media a lot in the modern world, and is a school topic in an American classroom in a history class. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don’t know what the Bill of Rights is, or they think it’s something it isn’t.
The Bill of Rights is simply the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Unlike other amendments, which were passed individually, the amendments composing the Bill of Rights were passed at the same time. There are two reasons why the Bill of Rights was made. The first reason the Bill of Rights was created was to reaffirm what rights citizens had. The other reason was to prevent the federal government from making the same abuses that British parliament had made. These first ten amendments have become so important, that it was almost as if they were part of the constitution itself.
The first eight of the ten amendments included in the Bill of Rights are about specific rights and prohibitions. The last two amendments are more general statements, but are equally as important as the first eight. The first amendment allows the freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the freedom to petition. The first amendment also states that congress cannot establish a national religion. The second amendment, a highly controversial topic, allows the right for one to bear arms, including firearms, and the right to organize local or state militias. This second amendment was made to prevent a mass government seize of arms, which is what Paul Revere was riding to warn the citizens of Concord to hide their arms and that the British would try to seize them. The third amendment stated that no soldier shall be housed without the owner’s consent, which directly contradicts the Quartering Acts enforced by Britain. The Fourth Amendment prohibits the search of someone, regardless of warrant, unless there is a probable cause to be searching that person’s belongings. The Fifth Amendment prohibits forcing one to testify against themselves and the same crime being tried twice. Government must follow due process. The sixth amendment grants citizens the right to a fair and speedy trial under a grand jury. The seventh amendment, similar to the sixth, states that civil cases must have a jury trial. The eighth amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. The ninth amendment states that any right not defined in the constitution isn’t automatically taken away, and the tenth amendment states that those rights should be left to the states or the people to decide. Many Americans feel that the tenth amendment has been pushed aside by congress, and that congress is taking too much power.
The Bill of Rights is an important document, because there are other nations across the planet that don’t guarantee citizens’ rights as defined in our constitution. A nation that doesn’t guarantee these rights is North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which a contradictory name since the nation isn’t a democracy, but rather a totalitarian dictatorship. Basic human rights are denied in North Korea. Some nations give human rights, but they are restricted. An example of this would be found in the Netherlands, where the government regulates the press and media. Another example of restricted human rights are found in Italy and Turkey, where speech that degrades the president’s honor is prohibited.
The Bill of Rights also had influence as well, and not just in the U.S. Nations such as Canada and Ireland are very similar in terms of freedom of speech, and the right to freedom of speech has gone as far as China and Brazil. The freedom of religion had also gained prominence as well. French law states that freedom of religion is a constitutional right, and French government can’t fund religious groups.
In conclusion, the Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights was formed to reaffirm citizen’s rights and to prevent abuses by the federal government. The Bill of Rights had profound importance and influence in America and the World, prompting other nations to allow human rights. Unfortunately, many of these rights are limited in those nations, such as Italy. If the Bill of Rights wasn’t created, a federal takeover may have happened in history, and the world would be a much different place.