“December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, which commemorates the ratification of the original ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Some people were originally concerned that the listing of certain rights might be used as an excuse to limit individual rights in the future while others feared that without a bill of rights, we might end up with no recognized rights at all. The inclusion of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments was supposed to alleviate any fears about future rights being limited, but alas, these amendments have been largely ignored by the courts over the years.
While we are thankful for the Bill of Rights, we also recognize that the rights it recognizes cannot be secured by a document alone. We must remain ever vigilant and guard against infringements of all kinds and on all fronts.”
— Founder’s Bible
The Purpose and Origin of the Bill of Rights
In this day of language overload, you will be pleased to know that the text of our entire Bill of Rights contains only 468 words. The Fifth Amendment is the longest, totaling 117 words. The shortest, the Eighth Amendment, is a mere twelve words. But the length of our Bill of Rights was not the product of a remarkable foresight that one day America would become a generation of nonreaders. No, our Bill’s length was determined by the fact that our Founders had something very definite in mind when they framed it.
As James Madison acknowledged when he introduced the amendments in that first Congress, these amendments were designed as “effectual provisions against encroachments on particular rights,” “safeguards” to which the people have been “accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercises sovereign power.” In other words, the Bill of Rights did not create the rights that it was designed to secure, but secured rights that preexisted the document.
1st 10 Amendments
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
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“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
“A Republic, if you can keep it.” — Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
Never in our Nation’s history has free speech and religious freedom been this close to extinction. With two sons who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, I admired their heart to serve and defend the country they love and honor. I then realized that the fight isn’t abroad; it is in our cities, counties, states, and country. We can no longer sit on the sidelines while our sons and daughters go abroad to defend our country and come home to a place they no longer recognize because we didn’t watch, fight, and defend our Republic. It is our responsibility as citizens to protect and fight for what our Founders have given us.