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The United States Bill of Rights


The United States Bill of Rights refers to the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. When the constitution was written, it did not guarantee certain rights to the American citizens and it was therefore necessary for it to be amended in order for these rights to be protected. (Patterson, 2007. pp 5-9) The Bill of Rights originally included twelve amendments but the first two (relating to the distribution of the House of Representatives and the pay due to congressmen) were not immediately ratified. The latter of these two was finally ratified in the year 1992 and is currently the twenty seventh amendment. Any amendment to the Constitution of the United States is normally done in a two part process; passing the bill (proposition) in Congress and then the adoption by no less than three fourths of all the states. It therefore follows that the Bill of Rights was passed in Congress on the 25th of September, 1789 and was consequently adopted by the States (ratification) on the15th of December, 1791.

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The amendments

The First Amendment addresses the rights and freedom of religion, speech and assembly, guaranteeing that Congress will not pass laws pertaining to the religion of the American citizens or prohibit their right to exercise their chosen religion. It also guarantees a free media, the liberty to talk, gather together in peace and to petition the government when citizens feel aggrieved.

The Second Amendment guarantees safety in the form of a reliable armed forces as well as the right of the citizens to keep and bear weaponry.

Citizens have a right to refuse the government from using their residences as accommodation for soldiers, whether in times of peace or when there is war, as pledged in the Third Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment assures citizens that no searches or detainment can be made to them or their property unless there is reason enough for such an action to be taken.

The Fifth Amendment deals with the rights of citizens accused of crime, promising that when a citizen has been accused of a chief offense, he or she will not stand trial unless the grand jury issues an indictment for the same, except only if these citizens are members of the armed forces and they committed these offenses when on duty. It goes ahead to prohibit unlawful punishment of citizens, repeated trials for a similar crime, giving evidence against oneself and unfair recompense when the government acquires personal property for public use.

In the Sixth Amendment, citizens, upon arrest, are assured a right to know why they are being arrested, to see and hear those testifying against them, to obtain their own witnesses and to enjoy a fast trial in which they also have a right to an attorney.

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The Seventh and Eight Amendments respectively guarantee jury trials and prohibit excessive punishment of offenses.

The Ninth Amendment guarantees that other rights not necessarily mentioned in the Bills of Rights but maintained by the people still apply.

The powers that have not been allotted to the United States by the Constitution, or those that have not been forbidden, remain automatically reserved to the Constitution or to the people, as guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment. (Kelly Et Al. 1991)

Relevant Amendment

The first amendment is the most relevant to me today. The other amendments generally dwell on crime and the legalities appertaining to it.

As a citizen, I find it reassuring to know that I am free to practice any religion of my choice. When am free spiritually am able to achieve so much more and be productive as am not laden with guilt about not doing what I know is required of me spiritually.

The liberty to be able to express myself vocally is also of importance to me as am not worried that saying this or that may or may not get me into legal problems. It is actually in the freedom of speech that great revelations and ideas get to be known and nurtured for the advancement of the country.

A free media is relevant, too, because through the media am able to know all the facts about prevailing situations not only in the United States but in the whole world as well. Media reports are generally unbiased as different media houses usually compete to be the first to let the real truth known. When they are free to give facts as they are to the citizens, the government and citizens get to be careful about what they are doing because it could easily be announced to the whole world. This makes everyone accountable.

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The right to be able to convene in groups, peaceful, is essential especially in highlighting issues that need to be addressed. This is because there are so many issues that may be taking place that do not necessarily aggrieve me as an individual but are hurting humanity elsewhere. Things like hunger walks, protests about terrorism in the world, genocide or global warming are just but a few the things that need people to come together and peacefully create awareness.

There are also other things that may hurt me directly that I may need to let the government know about. Therefore the right to petition the government remains relevant to me because some things may be taking place that are not right and can only be addressed when the concerned people get to know about them.


Patterson, T. E. (2007). The American Democracy (9th Ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

Kelly, Alfred Hinsey; Harbison, Winfred Audif; Belz, Herman (1991). The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development (7th edition Ed.). New York: Norton & Co.

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"The United States Bill of Rights." StudyCorgi, 24 Nov. 2021,

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "The United States Bill of Rights." November 24, 2021.


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