bill of rights

Bill of Rights

Founding fathers George Mason, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry argued that a set of rights for citizens should be clearly written in the U.S. Constitution of 1789. They were disappointed when that did not happen.

On December 15, 1791, ten amendments were added to the Constitution. They set forth a set of freedoms and rights of all U.S. Citizens.

"A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth." Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Madison.

Use these links to answer the questions:
Ben's Guide to Government |
Bill of Rights Institute | The Bill of Rights @ The National Archives

The Story of the Bill of Rights Videos

1. What are your rights under the First Amendment?











2. Which amendments apply to people who are charged with a crime or who are under suspicion of committing a crime?



3. The Fifth Amendment, like the First, contains a list of important rights. Write them in your own words.










4. Why are the Bill of Rights important?


5. Go to the First Amendment Center. Select a Supreme Court case related to schools.
What do you think regarding the issue?





6. Why is it important for citizens to know about the Bill of Rights?




* Seventeen proposed amendments to the Constitution were passed by the House of Representatives on August 24, 1789.
They were the beginning of the Bill of Rights.

On September 25, 1789, the First Federal Congress of the United States proposed to the state legislatures twelve amendments to the Constitution. These are the Bill of Rights. But the Bill of Rights has ten amendments to the Constitution.
Do some digging - What were the other two proposed amendments?


What happened to them?


* How a college term paper lead to the most recent amendment to the US Constitution.
Do some digging - When did your state ratify this amendment?

"Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free press,
is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free." Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

Preamble Citizen Rights Elections Founded on Compromise Civics History Mystery Message
Revolutionary spies project Revolutionary people Quotes Founding Mothers
Privacy Rights at School Free speech rights of students First Amendment Privacy in the Digital Age

Goodbye Bill Of Rights! - Students will enact a scene demonstrating life without one of the first ten amendments.


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posted 3/2006 Updated 12/2022 by Cynthia J. O'Hora,
In the spirit of Thomas Paine - released to public domain

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