The Bill of Rights

Nyah Stewart & Andrea Snody

James Madison

History

The Bill of Rights were written by James Madison. Madison was a powerful political leader from Virginia, who would soon be the 4th President of the United States. He critiqued the Articles of Confederation, and was one of the writers of the Federalist Papers, which are thought to be the most influential contributions to political thought in early America. Many documents influenced Madison, but the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by a fellow Virginian,George Mason, would come to serve as a basis of Madison's writings.

The final ratification of the Bill of Rights was on December 15, 1791. That's almost 223 years ago. It's no surprise that society has changed. We are no longer traveling in horse drawn carriages, or wearing petticoats. Society has advanced and improved and it's time the Bill of Rights has too.

The Bill of Rights Rewrite

Amendment I

America's citizens have the right to have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, and the right to assemble peacefully and petition the government.

"That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration. And that, when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community has an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most"  (Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Amendment II

To purchase and own a firearm, Citizens have to have a extensive background check, and a hunting license. These firearms will be held in approved government facilities until the appropriate hunting season, where they will be given to the owner for the extent of that season. At the end of the hunting season, firearms will be confiscated and placed back in the approved government facility. Citizens who fail to follow these regulations will not receive their firearm back.

*as of 2011*

This amendment is based on Australia's gun laws. One of the restrictions is,"Applicants for a gun owner’s license in Australia are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, hunting, target shooting, collection, pest control, and narrow occupational uses. In law, personal protection is not a genuine reason." (Gunpolicy.org).

AMENDMENT III

Citizens have the right to be free of discrimination based on race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc.

Many of the problems of the past were based on race and gender, and still a problem today.  Some examples :

  • "Women still earned only 77 cents for every dollar that men earned in 2012, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau."(Laura Basset, the Huffington Post).
  • "Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling national problem despite claims that the United States has entered a "post-racial era." It occurs every day, in cities and towns across the country, when law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin or religion." (American Civil Liberties Union)

To preserve the idea that all men were created equal as the Declaration of Independence states, this amendment is in place to insure that everyone in America can reap the benefits of  freedom.

Amendment iV

There will be no searches or seizures of a citizen without an warrant

"That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive and ought not to be granted." (Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Amendment V

No person shall be accused of the same crime twice, unless new evidence in that case is found. All cases must be judged fairly.

Amendment VI

" 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." (Original Bill of Rights)

  • fast trial
  • can't keep you in jail without trying you
  • trial has to be public
  • jury
  • know what you are being accused of, and to hear the witnesses
  • help to get witnesses for you, right to a lawyer

Amendment vII

Citizens have the right to a jury in a civil case exceeding $50.

Amendment Viii

The Punishment for a crime is determined by the nature of that crime.

For example, the punishment for someone who robbed a bank would be lesser than that of a murderer.

Amendment IX

Citizens have other rights that are not outlined in the constitution.

For example, dressing how you want to or picking your own job, etc.

Amendment X

Powers not outlined in the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people.

States have the right to decide other laws not in the Constitution. An example would be Colorado, who on January 1, 2014 decided to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Different kinds of people want different things, so therefore the states get to decide what's best for their people.

Works Cited

Alpers, Philip, Marcus Wilson, and Amélie Rossetti. Compare Australia – Total                           Number of Gun Deaths. Digital image. Compare Australia – Total Number of Gun           Deaths. Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, 12 Dec. 2014.               Web. 21 Dec. 2014.

Bassett, Laura. "Women Still Earned 77 Cents On Men's Dollar In 2012: Report." The                 Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

Carr, Karen. "Bill of Rights (1791)." Bill of Rights. Portland State University, 2014.                    Web. 21 Dec. 2014.

"The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription." National Archives and Records               Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 18 Dec.           2014.

"Guns in Australia." Guns in Australia - Firearms, Gun Law and Gun Control.                            Gunpolicy.org, 2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2014.

Madison, James. "Bill of Rights." Bill of Rights Institute Bill of Rights Comments. Bill of            Rights Institute, 2010. Web. 20 Dec. 2014.

"Marijuana Policy Project." Colorado. Marijuana Policy Project, 2014. Web. 19 Dec.                 2014.

"North Korea Travel Warning." North Korea Travel Warning. Bureau of Consular                  Affairs, U.S. Department of State., 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Dec. 2014.

"Racial Profiling." American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU, 2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2014.

"School Shootings in America." Everytown for Gun Safety. Everytown for Gun Safety,              2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2014.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR, Declaration of Human Rights,               Human Rights Declaration, Human Rights Charter, The Un and Human Rights."             UN News Center. UN, 2014. Web. 20 Dec. 2014.