The U.S. Bill of Rights is the accepted term for the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments created certain protections given to citizens of the United States by the federal government.
When the U.S. Constitution was originally written and ratified, it contained a set of blueprints for the government of the United States but did not contain any specific protections for the people. This was a major point of contention for many of the framers of the Constitution, as they had just finished fighting a war to gain independence from a tyrannical government. Finally, a compromise was reached that allowed passage of the Constitution. A series of amendments would be proposed immediately after passage that would provide certain guarantees for the citizens of the country.
Seventeen amendments were proposed, and 12 of these were sent to the states for approval. On Dec. 15, 1791, 10 amendments were ratified by the states, creating the Bill of Rights as it is known today. Some of the most well-known protections granted by these amendments include freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to a trial by jury and the protection from unlawful search and seizure of property.