Cliff Notes for Chapter 8:
The Bill of Rights


The following information was presented in this chapter:

Many Americans did not like the Constitution because they felt that a strong federal government could take away people's rights. Therefore, most Americans wanted a bill of rights added onto the Constitution. Because the Constitution had already been written and placed into effect, the bill of rights could be added only by making amendments to the Constitution. At this time, the United States Congress made a list of the rights that would be amendments to the Constitution, giving us the Bill of Rights.

  • The First Amendment-Freedom of Religion, Assembly, Petition, Press, and Speech
    --The First Amendment says that Congress cannot make any laws, which would limit the freedoms of religion, assembly, petition, press, and speech.
  • The Second Amendment-Right to Bear Arms
    --The Second Amendment allows people the right to keep and bear arms (weapons) as part of their state militia.
  • The Third Amendment-Housing Soldiers
    --No soldier shall, in time of peace, stay in any house without permission from the owner. During a war, if such a law passed in Congress, then people may be required to keep soldiers in their homes.
  • The Fourth Amendment-Search and Seizure
    --Police must have a search warrant before entering (looking for evidence) in a person's house.
  • The Fifth Amendment-The Right to Remain Silent -Protection Against Double Jeopardy
    a) a person cannot be forced to talk about themselves to the police or in the courtroom.
    b) a person cannot be found guilty of a crime if they have already been found not guilty of that same crime.
  • The Sixth Amendment-Right to get an Attorney -Right to a Jury Trial
    a) The police must tell the person being arrested that they are allowed to have an attorney. One will be appointed for the person if they cannot afford one.
    b) A person is allowed the help of a lawyer and heard by a jury. The person charged with the crime must be told what they were charged with and shown the evidence the government has against them.
  • The Seventh Amendment-The Right to a Jury Trial When Suing
    --in civil cases, a person still holds the right to have a jury trial.
  • The Eighth Amendment-No Cruel and Unusual Punishments
    --the arrested person should be treated as fairly as possible, no matter what. They should receive the same treatment for committing that crime as everyone else.
  • The Ninth Amendment-People's Rights
    --People have rights that are not listed in the Constitution, and they cannot be withheld from those rights.
  • The Tenth Amendment-States' Rights
    --If the Constitution did not give the federal government a particular right, then it is given to the states or to the people.

    Important dates to remember:

  • 1215 Magna Carta
  • 1689 English Bill of Rights
  • 1791 United States Bill of Rights