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Summary Article: Bill of Rights from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

In the USA, the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, incorporated in 1791:

1 guarantees freedom of worship, of speech, of the press, of assembly, and to petition the government;

2 grants the right to keep and bear arms;

3 prohibits billeting of soldiers in private homes in peacetime;

4 forbids unreasonable search and seizure;

5 guarantees none be ‘deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law’ or compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself or herself;

6 grants the right to speedy trial, to call witnesses, and to have defence counsel;

7 grants the right to trial by jury of one's peers;

8 prevents the infliction of excessive bail or fines, or ‘cruel and unusual punishment’;

9, 10 provide a safeguard to the states and people for all rights not specifically delegated to the central government.

Not originally part of the draft of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights was put forward during the period of ratification (final approval) of the Constitution. Twelve amendments were proposed by Congress in 1789; the ten now called the Bill of Rights were ratified in 1791.

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Bill of Rights

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