The constitution of the United States has been amended 27 times. The first 10 amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. These statements may as well be taken as the core of “belief” by citizens about American government, just as Christians rely on the “Big Ten” Commandments. Here are 10/27 that are important to current polarization.
Amendment 1 (separation of church and state)
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.
Certain religious groups perform habitual assaults on this amendment, even though it protects their rights.
Amendment 2 (guns)
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.
This is clear, but not Complete. We’re stuck with Universal gun Ownership (Actually Weapons, which is a vast category) the Amendment does not prohibit prevention of, and punishment for, Weapons used in criminal activity. this is Where progress toward a safer environment can be made.
Amendment 4 (warrants, search, seizure)
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.
A cherished right obliterated by cyber surveillance, internet spying, identity theft…
Amendment 5 (due process)
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 offense
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.
Grand Juries are misunderstood by many Americans. due process?- see below; plea bargains.
Amendment 6 (trial by jury)
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 defense.
This right to trial by jury has been obliterated by the practice of plea bargains: 94% of convictions are obtained without a trial.
Amendment 8 (bail, punishment)
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel
and unusual punishments inflicted.
See solitary confinement and other abuses, previous post.
Amendment 10 (state’s rights)
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 struggle between the power of individual states and federal control remains a deep fault line in American life.
Amendment 14 (citizenship)
1.All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the
jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State
wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge
the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any
State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of
law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the
“Born in the United States” is currently interpreted to include babies born to illegal immigrants: a source of contention in the battle over illegal immigration.
Amendment 15 (civil rights)
- The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or
abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or
previous condition of servitude.
Still being Violated.
Amendment 19 (women’s rights)
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or
abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Women’s rights are still being Violated despite being “‘guaranteed” by this amendment.
…that WAR is a choice.