Most of the 27 amendments to the Constitution either provide a unique benefit to or guarantee a right of the American people. For example, the First Amendment guarantees the right to peaceably assemble, to petition the government for a redress of grievances and the freedom of speech, press and religion.
The wording of some amendments leaves the exact scope of their prescribed rights and benefits open to interpretation. For example, the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, but is phrased in the context of the necessity of a well-regulated militia. This has led to debate over possession of powerful weapons, such as fully automatic assault rifles, by private citizens.
Most amendments focus on establishing and guaranteeing fundamental rights rather than conferring specific benefits; however, the 14th Amendment can be said to confer the benefit of citizenship to anyone born on United States soil. Most of the first 10 amendments address fundamental rights, such as security against unreasonable search and seizure, the right to a speedy and public jury trial and the prohibition of excessive bail. Some other important rights that are guaranteed by amendments include the right to vote for all those over 18 and the illegality of slavery and involuntary servitude.