The Bill Of Rights

The Bill of Rights

Amendment 1

Amendment 2

Amendment 3

Amendment 4

Amendment 5

Amendment 6

Amendment 7

Amendment 8

Amendment 9

Amendment 10

Glossary

Teacher Notes

Welcome to The Bill of Rights website.
On April 30, 1789, George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States. The new United States Constitution had already been ratified, yet the future of the new country was still at risk. Many of the founding fathers were demanding a "bill of rights" which would protect the people from the government. This bill of rights was to be added to the Constitution to guarantee individual liberties, to make sure that the new government would not treat citizens like the old colonial government of Great Britain did. But not everyone agreed that this bill of rights was necessary.

Two groups opposed each other, the Federalists who wanted a strong government and no bill of rights, and the Anti-Federalists who wanted more power for the states and a bill of rights. To reach an agreement, James Madison promised to add a bill of rights to the Constitution.

James Madison

Father of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights

"The Declaration of rights is like all other human blessings alloyed with some inconveniences...But the good in this instance vastly outweighs the evil."

 

"If we cannot secure all our rights, let us secure what we can."

Letter from Jefferson to James Madison, dated March 15, 1789

Thomas Jefferson

James Madison believed that citizens needed to be protected from the state governments and the national government. He gathered ideas from friends and documents and came up with 42 rights that needed to be protected for individuals. Madison's 42 rights were cut to 27 by the House of Representatives. Then they were cut to only 12 by the time the Senate approved them, and finally only 10 were approved by the states. These 10 rights became the first 10 amendments to the Constitution on December 15, 1791 and became known as The Bill of Rights.

How to use this website
Each of the amendments has it's own page. Some are divided into several pages because of the complexity of the amendment.

  • On the top of each page is the content of the amendment in BOLD black.
  • Next you will find that text broken into smaller segments in red.
  • Next you will find green text which is my discussion or explanation of the amendment.
  • At the bottom of each page you will find a link or links to other pages with activities related to that page.

Click the Scroll to go to the Final Activity Page

Bob Houghton
Indio Middle School
Desert Sands Unified School District, 2000