What Are the Ten Amendments?


Quick Answer

The Bill of Rights comprises of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments include the basic rights of U.S. citizens from the federal government. The U.S. Supreme Court incorporated the Bill of Rights selectively to apply to the states.

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Full Answer

The First Amendment guarantees free speech for individual citizens and the press. Gun ownership rights for both the government and individual citizens comprise the Second Amendment. The Third Amendment forbids the military from using private homes during warfare. Citizens have protection from unlawful search and seizure due to the Fourth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment sets certain procedures for criminal indictments and trials. Rights regarding criminal defense are in the Sixth Amendment, including a timely trial and a right to have an attorney present for court proceedings. Federal civil court proceedings in the Seventh Amendment state a right to a trial by jury unless under a waiver. The Eighth Amendment sets limits on punishments. Rights that are not explicitly in the Bill of Rights are part of the enumeration clause of the Ninth Amendment. The 10th Amendment describes the dissemination of power through the federal system.

Those in the First Congress added the Bill of Rights in 1789. States ratified only 10 of the original 17 amendments.

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