As a longtime social studies teacher, I once resented the fact that the state or federal government would dictate to me what I had to teach on a certain day. Heck, I even taught at a time, I won’t say how long ago, before Pass Objectives and Core Curriculum Standards even existed. With that said, I actually had an enjoyable time in the trenches today discussing the U.S. Constitution with my students. They seemed to enjoy it this go round because of a new format, interactive iPad activities (education sure is changing), and the discussion period that followed. I think all Americans should take the time today to type “the Bill of Rights” into Google or Yahoo and brush up on all of the things that the U.S. Government is NOT supposed to do to us. It is a rather enlightening experience. It’s not surprising that most students felt that the 1st Amendment is the most important one. The 2nd Amendment also received a lot of love, but one young lady made a very impassioned plea for the 9th, and I will say that I look at it in a whole new light now. I will also note that the highlight of the day for me came when one young man stated that the 3rd was the most important, because he didn’t want some soldier living in his house and eating all of his food. I had to agree that such circumstances would indeed suck. It is amazing whenever you consider the history of that amendment and why it is in there.
Which amendment do you value the most? Please chime in with your thoughts below!
With that said, here is the United States’ Bill of Rights for your reading pleasure.
Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the “Bill of Rights.”
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 re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the 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.