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How does the Bill of Rights limit the government?

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Quick Answer

The Bill of Rights limits the government by enumerating the rights of the people and listing the things the government cannot do. For example, the Bill of Rights states that the government cannot pass a law limiting the freedom of speech or religion.

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Full Answer

The Bill of Rights is a term that refers to the first 10 amendments of the Constitution of the United States. The lack of a Bill of Rights was one of the main points of disagreement between federalists and anti-federalists. James Madison wrote the 10 amendments as a response to calls from several states for constitutional protection for individual liberties. The end result, approved by the House and ratified in 1791, is a list of limits on the powers of government. According to the Third Amendment, no soldier can be quartered in a private house in a time of peace without the consent of the owner. The Fourth Amendment prohibits the government from intruding in a citizen's home. According to the Fifth Amendment, no one can be held to answer for a capital crime in the absence of a grand jury. The Eighth Amendment prevents the government from imposing excessive bail or fines on citizens and from inflicting cruel and unusual punishments.

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