Speaking of Your Rights
The Education Center, Inc.     Dec/Jan 2001-2

What's the most famous Bill in the United States?  The Bill of Rights, of course!  This document states the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  These amendments guarantee the basic freedoms that Americans--including you--enjoy today!

Part 1:  Read through the summary of the Bill of Rights below.  Talk with your partner about what you think each amendment means and why it is important.

Amendment 1

You have freedoms of religion, speech, and the press.  You also have the right to assemble peacefully and to let the government know if you disagree with its action.

Amendment 2

You have the right to own and bear arms (weapons).

Amendment 3

Soldiers won't be kept in your home during peaceful times without your permission.

Amendment 4

You or your property cannot be searched or taken without your permission or without a warrant based on a good reason.

Amendment 5

You can't be held for a crime without an indictment from a grand jury (except in some military cases).  You can't be tried twice for the same crime.  You don't have to testify against yourself in court.  You have the right to due process of the law.  Your property cannot be taken for public use without payment.

Amendment 6

You have the right to a speedy and public trial by a fair jury.  You have the right to know what you're accused of and to hear any witnesses against you.  You have the right to find witnesses to support you and to have a lawyer defend you.

Amendment 7

You have the right to a trial by jury.

Amendment 8

You can't be charged excessive fines or bail or be punished in a cruel or unusual way.

Amendment 9

You have other rights that are not specifically listed in the Constitution.

Amendment 10

The federal government may have only the powers given to it by the Constitution.  Any other powers belong to the states and to the people.


Part 2:  Choose one of the amendments above.  On another sheet of paper, write a short speech giving your opinion of the amendment.  Tell us why you think it is or is not an important right for citizens to have and what life might be like without it.  Practice your speech so you'll be ready to present it to the rest of the class.


Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society