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First 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution

The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the 1787-88 struggle over ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and crafted to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people. The concepts codified in these amendments are built upon those found in several earlier documents, including the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the English Bill of Rights, along with earlier documents such as Magna Carta (1215).

Bill of Rights Institute

Reference

Bill of Rights
Hyperlinked text with references to other areas of the Freedom Circle directory
Bill of Rights, 4 Mar 1789
U.S. National Archives, includes transcript and downloadable high-resolution image

Websites

Bill of Rights - Security Edition, by Dean Cameron
The Bill of Rights – Security Edition Card is The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, printed on each side of a sturdy, playing-card-sized, piece of metal.
Our Constitutional Rights
Uses humorous text and images to introduce the rights mentioned in the U.S. Constitution

Articles

The Anatomy of the State, by Murray Rothbard, Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought, Jun 1965
Examines several attributes of the State, including how it maintains and grows itself and how it deals with other States
[T]he "natural rights" of the individual enshrined in John Locke and the Bill of Rights, became a statist "right to a job" ... Certainly the most ambitious attempt to impose limits on the State has been the Bill of Rights and other restrictive parts of the American Constitution, in which written limits on government became the Fundamental Law to be interpreted by a judiciary supposedly independent of the other branches of government. All Americans are familiar with the process by which the construction of limits in the Constitution has been inexorably broadened over the last century.
The Bill of Rights: Antipathy to Militarism, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Sep 2004
After quoting the text of the Third Amendment, discusses standing armies in the historical context and in modern times
Even that, however, was not good enough for our American ancestors. They wanted an express restriction on the abridgement of what had become historically recognized as fundamental and inherent rights of the people. In other words, they wanted what could be considered an express insurance policy for the protection of their rights. While government officials could not lawfully exercise powers that were not enumerated in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights would make the point even more emphatically that federal officials had no authority to abridge the fundamental rights of the people.
The Bill of Rights: Freedom of Speech, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Jul 2004
Part of a series examining the Bill of Rights, this covers the freedom of speech clause as a barrier to censorship by government (and not by private entities)
When the Constitution was being proposed to our American ancestors in 1787, many people expressed the concern that the document failed to specify the fundamental rights of the people that would be immune from assault by federal officials ... The people feared that the federal government would somehow break out of the original Constitution's enumerated-powers straitjacket and misuse its powers to violate the fundamental rights it was charged with protecting. The enumeration of those rights and the express restrictions on government power in the Bill of Rights were to ensure that that didn't happen.
The Bill of Rights: Reserved Powers, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, May 2005
Discusses the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the system of federalism and the breakdown that occurred in 1937 when the Supreme Court held that the federal government could regulate economic activity
Therefore, when the Constitution came into existence the state governments, being governments of general powers, theoretically had the power to deprive people of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other such rights. So why didn't the states exercise such general powers? Because the concepts of fundamental rights and procedural protections were so ingrained in the hearts and minds of the citizenry, evidenced by the fact that the states had bills of rights in their own constitutions. In fact, given that state constitutions predated the Bill of Rights, the latter was actually modeled on them.
The Bill of Rights, by Hugo Black, New York University Law Review, Apr 1960
Relates background stories that led to adoption of the Bill of Rights, including John Lilburne and religious persecution in colonial America
It has been said, and I think correctly, that had there been no general agreement that a supplementary Bill of Rights would be adopted as soon as possible after Congress met, the Constitution would not have been ratified. ... I cannot agree with those who think of the Bill of Rights as an 18th Century straitjacket, unsuited for this age.
Related Topic: John Lilburne
The Bill of Rights: Unenumerated Rights, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Apr 2005
Examines the rationale and history behind the Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, citing both James Madison and Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
Thus, Americans demanded the Bill of Rights as an "insurance policy"— ... to ensure there were no misunderstandings among government officials ... that their limited, enumerated powers did not encompass the abridging of ... fundamental rights ... Opponents ... responded with an obvious critique: expressly enumerating some rights for protection from federal assault would suggest that other rights remained unprotected ... Fortunately, the proponents of the Bill of Rights won the day, because for all practical purposes, in the 20th century the federal government broke out of the original enumerated-powers straitjacket ...
Blockbuster Victory for the Second Amendment, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Aug 1999
Comments on the April 1999 decision by a federal district judge in Texas to consider unconstitutional a 1994 law that decreed that a person under a domestic restraining order could not own firearms
At a 1997 American Society of Criminology conference, one professor argued that among signs of "hate group ideology" were "discussion of the Bill of Rights, especially the Second Amendment, or the Federalist Papers," ... and "discussion of the Framers of our government." ... This federal court decision goes to the heart of "the crucial question of whether the Second Amendment embodies an individual or collective right to bear arms," as Cummings wrote. Several federal appeals courts have ruled that the right is only a "collective" right — in sharp contrast to the other rights protected by the Bill of Rights.
Civil Society: Prepared Remarks of James W. Lark, III, at Bill of Rights Day Celebration, by Jim Lark, 6 Dec 2003
Unfortunately, from the moment the Bill of Rights was ratified it has been under attack. In some cases, the attacks on our liberty have been overt and blatant. However, much more frequently the attacks are barely visible and subtle, and are launched not by people of ill will but rather by people who are well-intentioned.
The Constitution Within, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 18 Aug 2006
Questions the validity of constitutions by relating how James Madison behaved during the debates over the U.S. document and later after his introduction in the first Congress of the amendments that would become the Bill of Rights
[Richard] Labunski's new book, James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights ... provides a well-written, gripping account of how James Madison kept his promise to have the first U.S. Congress amend the new Constitution in order to add a bill of rights. The Virginia ratifying convention, along with several other state conventions, was unhappy that the Constitution had no bill of rights. Madison and other champions of the new charter thought a declaration of rights was unnecessary and even dangerous; a government of limited, enumerated powers would already be restrained from violating rights, they said.
The Court Almost Gets It Right on Guns, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Oct 2008
Discusses the U.S. Supreme Court majority and dissenting opinions on the D.C. law that banned handguns in private homes
The misunderstanding of the nature of rights runs deep. After the decision, the Chicago Tribune called for repeal of the Second Amendment. But if rights are inherent in human nature, repeal would make no difference. A right would not disappear merely because a government document ceased to say it should not be infringed ... Had the Bill of Rights never been added to the Constitution, do the Tribune editors seriously believe we would have had no inherent right to freedom of speech and the press? ... Alexander Hamilton ... made an important argument against adding a bill of rights to the Constitution.
The Courts and the New Deal, Part 1, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom, Jun 2005
First part of a four-part series examining how Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal affected federal courts and other legal practices; contrasts the thoughts of Blackstone and Bentham
The Bill of Rights protects individual persons from the predations of the state, and was intended to restrain the proclivities of politicians and government authorities to grab power. That governments and the courts have ridden roughshod over those protections does not minimize their importance or the fact that they are enshrined in U.S. law, even if that law today is little more than parchment under glass.
Decimating the Constitution with Military Tribunals, by Jacob Hornberger, 27 Sep 2006
Discusses what would become the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA); note: in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled section 7 of the MCA unconstitutional, which led to the MCA of 2009
Any person accused of a crime was guaranteed such procedural rights as right to counsel, the right to confront witnesses against him, the right to a speedy and public trial, the right to due process of law, the right to a jury trial, the right to reasonable bail, and the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishments. If evidence has been acquired by the authorities in violation of the reasonable search requirement in the Bill of Rights or the right against self-incrimination, such evidence ... cannot be used at trial. People accused of crimes cannot be tortured or otherwise forced to confess or provide evidence of their guilt.
Democracy Versus Liberty, by James Bovard, The Freeman, Aug 2006
Discusses the dangers of equating liberty with "self-government" as majority rule
In his 1941 State of the Union address, FDR announced the "four freedoms" ... FDR's revised freedoms ignored most of all the specific limitations on government power contained in the Bill of Rights ... But the Bill of Rights did not give freedom to Americans; instead, it was a solemn pledge by the government that it recognized and would not violate the pre-existing rights of individuals. The Bill of Rights was not "radical" according to the beliefs of Americans of that era; it codified rights both long recognized in English common law and purchased in blood during the Revolution.
Do Our Rights Come from the Constitution?, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Jun 1999
Dispels the myth that rights are granted to the people by the Constitution or the Bill of Rights
Not trusting government officials, ... the American people ensured the passage of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. These should more appropriately have been called the "Bill of Prohibitions" than the Bill of Rights. Why? Because a careful examination reveals that they are express restrictions on government powers rather than a grant of rights to the citizenry ... Fearful, however, of the propensity of government to move toward dominance and control, the people felt safer with express restrictions on the power to interfere with rights that they believed were of the utmost importance.
FBI Free to Ambush our Bill of Rights, by Nat Hentoff, 23 May 2012
Discusses the Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations changed and expanded by Attorney General Michael Mukasey in late 2008 and retained by the Obama administration
George Mason's contagious objections became a major reason that the first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, were finally listed and ratified by enough states to be added to the Constitution in 1791. And we still proudly have them! Or do we? As George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Barack Obama have eroded our guarantees of a self-governing republic, how many Americans are aware they are losing some of the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights? ... I know enough about my hero to have no doubt what George Mason's reaction would be to one of the most persistent and unpunished present violators of the Bill of Rights — the FBI!
Fourth Circuit Moussaoui Ruling Is a Loss for the Constitution, by Jacob Hornberger, 30 Apr 2004
Discusses the rulings of a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, with respect to compelling witnesses in the accused's favor in accordance with the Sixth Amendment
... Justice Gregory carefully explains that the judicial branch's enforcement of the Bill of Rights in criminal cases does not interfere with the president's warmaking abilities ... To place matters in context ...: The government, including the Pentagon, is claiming the power to seize and arrest any person, including U.S. citizens, and hold him in a military brig as an "enemy combatant" in the "war on terrorism," denying him the right to counsel, the right to a jury trial, the right to due process of law, the right of habeas corpus, and all other rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Related Topic: Right to Trial by Jury
The Freedom Pledge, by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, 22 May 2002
Suggested by JFPO for reciting at meetings or as a personal pledge
I pledge my honor to the Bill of Rights, our precious national treasure. As the Bill is a fortress against tyranny, I will battle all tyrants. As the Bill protects liberty, I will live free. As the Bill guards rights born within all humanity, I will defend the freedoms of future generations. With my life, my words, and my daily deeds, with a vision of what can be, I honor all of the Bill of Rights for all mankind.
George Mason and Individual Rights, by Willie E. Nelms, The Freeman, Sep 1977
Biographical essay highlighting Mason's ideas about individual rights and slavery, from his early childhood reading of Locke, the drafting of the Virginia Declaration of Rights to his opposition at the Virginia constitutional ratifying convention
Mason's anger at the proposed con­stitution reached the point of no return when the convention mem­bers refused to formulate a bill of rights. ... When the convention failed to comply with Mason's wishes ... he championed the Anti-federalist cause at the state convention called to consider the ratification of the new government. He again argued that addition of a Bill of Rights was essential. It was only through such a document, he argued, that the people could feel secure in their freedom. He voiced the fear that the new federal gov­ernment with its power to levy taxes, would destroy the powers of the states and individuals as well.
Related Topics: George Mason, Rights
George Mason and the Bills of Rights, by Gary Williams, The Freeman, May 1992
Relates the life of George Mason, his primary role in writing the Virginia Declaration of Rights and his opposition to ratifying the U.S. Constitution
The Bill of Rights received a lot of attention during its recent 200th anniversary, but little recognition was given to George Mason, who was the driving force behind the document. ... Some of Mason's phrases [in the Virginia Declaration of Rights] appear in the U.S. Bill of Rights that passed 15 years later. ... For Mason, the last straw came on September 12, 1787, when his proposal to include a bill of rights in the new Constitution was defeated 10 states to none. Not even Mason's offer to write an immediate version himself was enough to sway the delegates who were impatient to wrap up matters and go home.
Give Me Liberty [PDF], by Rose Wilder Lane, 1936
Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
No politician, yet, has asked American voters to give him the power to strip any State of the powers it has usurped from its citizens, nor to strip the Federal Government of the powers it has usurped ...; to restore the rights of the citizens, the rights and powers of the States ...; nor to add to the original list of restrictions upon political power—the list known as the Bill of Rights—further restrictions that will adequately protect the property, liberty and lives of persons living in the modern world and make the United States again the world-champion of human rights and the leader of the world-liberating revolution.
Hard Cases Make Bad Law, by Jacob Hornberger, 23 Mar 2005
Discusses the attempt by members of the U.S. Congress to have U.S. federal courts intervene in the Terri Schiavo case, already decided by a Florida district court
When the Constitution called into existence the federal government, the goal was to keep the government as weak and divided as possible ... The fact is that our ancestors did not trust the federal government. They didn't trust it one iota. They perceived, correctly, that the federal government was the biggest threat to people's freedom and well-being. That is in fact why they enacted the Bill of Rights soon after the Constitution was approved—to protect the people from the federal government. Note, for example, which branch of government is expressly named and restricted in the First Amendment—Congress!
H.L. Mencken: The Joyous Libertarian, by Murray Rothbard, New Individualist Review, 1962
Examines the themes and style in Mencken's writings, mainly from the self-selected pieces in A Mencken Chrestomathy
[The] minority of intellectuals concerned with civil liberty and individual rights ... did not realize, added Mencken, that the Bill of Rights as originally adopted by the Fathers of the Republic:
... was gross, crude, idealistic, a bit fanciful and transcendental. It specified the rights of a citizen, but it said nothing whatever about his duties. Since then, by the orderly processes of legislative science and by the even more subtle and beautiful devices of juridic art, it has been kneaded and mellowed ... Those who are unaware of this are simply ignorant of the basic principles of American jurisprudence ...
How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz), The Freeman, Jun 1996
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
3. What bulwark of American liberty do we owe to the Antifederalists? ... The Bill of Rights. Soon after the Constitutional Convention made its proposed Constitution public on September 17, 1787, people who became known as Antifederalists objected that it lacked a bill of rights specifically prohibiting the federal government from violating key civil liberties. The Constitution was ratified without a bill of rights, but Antifederalists threatened to push for a second constitutional convention. To head this off, James Madison sponsored a bill of rights during the first session of Congress.
Individual Liberty and Limited Government: Walter E. Williams and The Spirit Of George Mason [PDF], by Michael D. White, 24 May 1993
Introduction to the 1993 Frank M. Engle Lecture, "The Legitimate Role of Government in a Free Economy", delivered by Walter Williams at The American College
When he wrote Virginia's bill of rights, Mason noted that individuals have 'certain inherent rights, namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.' ... The first to speak on the Convention floor in favor of the Constitution's incorporation of a Bill of Rights that would provide personal guarantees to individuals and explicitly limit government's powers ... That Bill of Rights is both a tribute to and a confirmation of George Mason's vision that individuals have fundamental rights that no government, however constituted, may alter or abolish.
Individual Liberty and the Constitution: A Response to Robert Bork, by Roger Pilon, 9 Jul 2008
Responds to Robert Bork's essay "Individual Liberty and the Constitution" published in the June 2008 issue of The American Spectator
Having thus disparaged the Constitution's bedrock principle, the doctrine of enumerated powers, Bork turns to his main concern, what courts have done with the Bill of Rights. Disparaging that too, he notes that the Bill played almost no role in our courts until the last third of the 19th century; but he fails to mention why: it was because the limits imposed by enumeration were largely respected—by the political branches—and the Bill of Rights did not limit states, where most power resided, until 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified.
Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826), by Daniel J. Mahoney, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
Although Jefferson was absent from the United States when the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia to adopt a new Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation, he played a critical role in the Constitution's ratification during 1787–1789. ... Through his trans-Atlantic correspondence with James Madison and others, however, he helped push for the addition of a Bill of Rights, which he considered 'necessary by way of supplement,' to ensure that the national government would not abuse the powers granted it under the Constitution.
Killing Iraqi Children, by Jacob Hornberger, 19 Jun 2006
Comments on a Detroit News editorial condoning the bombing, rather than the arrest and prosecution, of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the "collateral" death of a five-year old girl
[The] military holds the Bill of Rights in contempt, which is precisely why the Pentagon established its torture and sex abuse camps in Cuba and former Soviet-bloc countries ... It is not a coincidence that in the Pentagon's ... effort to "rebuild" Iraq it has done nothing to construct a judicial system [with] independent judges issuing search and arrest warrants or that would protect due process, habeas corpus, jury trials, and the right to counsel. To the military, all that is anathema, ... because it might inhibit [their] ability ... to take out people without .. all those legal and technical niceties.
Law as 'Reason' or as 'Violence'?, by Butler Shaffer, 17 Nov 2001
Compares modern "law" to ancient "law merchant" and describes various rationalizations used to justify the violence in the modern system, highlighting the USA PATRIOT Act and similar legislation
... the Soviet Union operated on the basis of a 'constitution' – modeled upon the American system, complete with a 'bill of rights.' ... If one reads a history of the cases decided by the United States Supreme Court, one finds the following fairly consistent patterns: powers granted to the federal government have been given expansive definitions ... At the same time, personal liberties that were supposed to have been protected by the 'Bill of Rights' have been given a very restricted definition. Case after case reverberates with such phrases as 'freedom of religion does not include,' or 'free speech does not mean' ...
Lessons about Our Constitution from Abu Ghraib, by Jacob Hornberger, 26 May 2004
Argues that constitutional protections and restraints on government are needed more than ever to prevent abuses such as have happened in U.S.-occupied Iraq
To further clarify the limited nature of the federal government's powers, our ancestors ensured the passage of the Bill of Rights, which expressly restricts federal abrogation of fundamental rights. Why were our American ancestors so insistent on such protections? Because they understood that the biggest threat to their freedom and well-being was their own government ... Our ancestors understood that if ... fundamental rights were not expressly guaranteed, U.S. officials, often with well-meaning zeal, would run roughshod over the lives, liberty, property, and well-being of the people.
Liberalism, by Friedrich Hayek, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas, 1978
Chapter 9; originally written in 1973 for the Enciclopedia del Novicento; covers both the history of both strands of liberalism as well as a systematic description of the "classical" or "evolutionary" type
The explicit formulation by the former British colonists, in a written constitution, of what they understood to be the essentials of the British tradition of liberty, intended to limit the powers of government, and especially the statement of the fundamental liberties in a Bill of Rights, provided a model of political institutions which profoundly affected the development of liberalism in Europe.
Mason, George (1725-1792), by Robert M. S. McDonald, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
In 1775, he ... assumed the place vacated by Washington in Fairfax County's delegation to the Virginia Convention. It was in this capacity that in June 1776 Mason authored the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which served as a model for other state rights declarations and later the national Bill of Rights. ... Mason was pleased when the states adopted the first 10 amendments to the constitution in December 1791, and so indeed was Madison, who had come to embrace Mason's belief that Americans needed written safeguards against the potential encroachments of national power.
Related Topic: George Mason
New Declaration of Independence, by Vince Miller, Jarret Wollstein, Jan 2000
Prefaced by quoting the second paragraph of the original Declaration, lists the outrages of the "modern American State" (in a manner similar to the original), ending with a list of demands including Citizen Grand Juries, Citizen Veto and Power of Recall
To restore the freedom, peace and prosperity of the people, we therefore demand: That the protections of individual rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights be strictly enforced. That all laws be abolished which restrict freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and enterprise; the right to keep and bear arms and the right to own and dispose of property. That henceforth political leaders, legislators or judges violating their oaths to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights be tried for treason.
On Socially Responsible Programming, by Eric S. Raymond, 2 Oct 1999
Speech prepared by and given on Eric's behalf upon receipt of the Norbert Weiner Award from the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
If we want to be socially responsible programmers, our first duty is to defend and expand liberty — to defend, in particular, the individual freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Bearing in mind the First Amendment, no socially responsible programmer should cooperate with or assist any government program which censors or interdicts free speech.
The Pentagon's Power to Arrest, Torture, and Execute Americans, by Jacob Hornberger, 28 Feb 2007
Discusses the power to "arrest, torture, and execute" anyone (Amrican citizen or not) claimed to be an "enemy combatant" by the U.S. president and the military, and the shenanigans in the José Padilla case
If Americans committed a federal crime, they were subject to being indicted by a federal grand jury and then prosecuted in U.S. District Court. The Bill of Rights guaranteed that the accused would be accorded certain rights of due process of law, such as the right to defend himself with the assistance of an attorney, to confront the witnesses whose testimony the prosecutors were relying on, to summon witnesses in his behalf, to remain silent, and to have a trial by jury. Everyone was presumed to be innocent and the government had to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Presentation to The Eris Society 2000, by L. Neil Smith, 2000
Discusses Smith's plan for prevent an extinction level event, such as the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction, including related topics such as the diffent categories of asteroids, their chemical composition and terraforming
I'm not suggesting that we require a corporation or combination of corporations to deal with the problem. In many ways—especially where sticking up for individual liberty and the Bill of Rights is concerned—corporations have been as bad as or worse than the government. Speaking of domed Lunar or Martian colonies, Freeman Dyson once said, "I wouldn't want to live anywhere that a Richard Nixon could turn off the air." Personally, I wouldn't want to live where Bill Gates—who has demonstrated as much regard for the Bill of Rights as Bill Clinton—can turn off the air, either.
The Quest for Cosmic Justice, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Dec 1999
Review of The Quest for Cosmic Justice (1999) by Thomas Sowell
The fundamental principle of the American experiment in freedom, Sowell argues, was captured in the Bill of Rights, where it was clearly stated that "Congress shall make no law ..." To be exempt from the laws that government might wish to impose to restrict our peaceful conduct is the essence of constitutionally protected liberty. And it is this freedom that is being threatened in America and the world in general by those who, like the Bolsheviks, continue to claim that everything is permitted to them in the pursuit of making us and our world over into their utopian image of how they think we should be.
The Revolution's Forgotten Hero, by David A. Merrick, Future of Freedom, Dec 2003
Highlights the work of George Mason as the person "most responsible for penning freedoms into written law" for his contributions to or influence on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Bill of Rights
On December 15, an anniversary will come and go with little or no fanfare. It will probably pass unnoticed, even though it is the anniversary of one of the greatest events in the history of written law. On that day, the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, will have been ratified for 211 years. ... [Mason] carried his struggle for a federal bill of rights to the people. He barely lived long enough to see the victory for which he so bitterly fought. The Bill of Rights was adopted in December 1791 and Mason died in 1792.
Synergism Within the Bill of Rights, by Andrew Ausley, Dec 2003
Winner of Bill of Rights Day essay contest, sponsored by Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County, Fla., and The Advocates for Self-Government
... as seen in the Constitution, it is the people who grant power to the government, thus it is impossible for the government to grant freedom to the people. The Bill of Rights was not written to be a list of the freedoms of American citizens, it was provided as a list of the things upon which the government may not encroach.
What Is the Constitution?, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jun 2002
Discusses constitutional interpretation of allowed governmental powers and restrictions on such powers, in particular the ninth and tenth amendments, in light of comments from Justice Antonin Scalia about a national ID card
The Bill of Rights has distracted us from essential questions about government power. When someone proposes that the federal government do something, the first question most constitutional scholars ask is whether that power would violate any provision of the Bill of Rights ... Recall that the original document had no bill of rights. It was added later ... Hamilton's question provides a key to using the Constitution. Had there been no Bill of Rights, any proposal for the exercise of federal power would have to be referred to the Constitution proper, specifically, Article I, Section 8.
Why I Am An Anarchist, by Caleb Johnson, The New Hampshire Free Press, 12 Mar 2008
Contrasts the general public view of anarchism with the reality of national governments and their actions
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson expressed the concept that states exist for the purpose of securing our rights ... To see how misguided this notion is, one merely needs to read the so-called Bill of Rights to the Constitution. This document attempts to secure for all Americans the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of the press, freedom to peaceably assemble, freedom to bear arms, security against having the military quartered in my home, security against unreasonable searches and seizures, and security against unfair judicial proceedings. But who is it that threatens these rights if it is not states?
Related Topics: Anarchism, Government, The State, War
Will the Democrats Become Part of the Problem?, by Paul Craig Roberts, 10 Nov 2006
Discusses the outcome of the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections and offers recommendations primarily for congressional Democrats
After the years of illegal war and the overnight destruction of civil liberties that were 800 years in their creation, the United States stands at a watershed. If the legislation that has been put on the books permitting spying on Americans without a court warrant, legalizing torture and self-incrimination, and repealing habeas corpus and the right to an attorney remains on the books, the United States will be a police state regardless of which party is in power ... The notion that Americans can be protected from "terror" by giving up the Bill of Rights is absurd.

Cartoons and Comic Strips

So how was school today?, by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 31 Jan 2011
Pretty cool, actually! We learned about something called 'The Bill of Rights'
Related Topic: Learning

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "United States Bill of Rights" as of 3 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.