Friday, August 22nd, 2008 | Author:

The first 10 amendments to the US constitution represent the basis for the individual freedoms we’re so fond of claiming, but how many of them can you name? I confess, I couldn’t get them all without looking, which is a situation I plan to rectify. So mull it over and see how many you can come up with. While you’re thinking, you can read part of James Madison’s speech that introduced these amendments:

I believe that the great mass of the people who opposed [the Constitution], disliked it because it did not contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights, and those safeguards which they have been long accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercised the sovereign power: nor ought we to consider them safe, while a great number of our fellow citizens think these securities necessary.

Time’s up! Here’s The Bill of Rights, compliments of Wikipedia:

First Amendment – 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.

Second Amendment – 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.

Third Amendment - 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.

Fourth Amendment – 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.

Fifth Amendment – No person shall be held to answer for any 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.

Sixth Amendment – 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 where in 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.

Seventh Amendment - 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.

Eighth Amendment – Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment – The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment – 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.

While I am ashamed that I couldn’t name them all, I wonder if our elected officials, who swear to uphold the Constitution, would do any better? Did you? Leave a comment and share your results.

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Category: Bill of Rights
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3 Responses
  1. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Well, I don’t have each one memorized verbatim. But I got the general gist of each one except the 7th and 8th. So don’t feel too bad! I need to catch up too! Heh.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. akaGaGa says:

    I thought you, of all people, Herc, would ace this one. Boy, do I feel better! :)

  3. Hercules Mulligan says:

    I did have them all memorized at one time, you know ;) But I only memorized the on ONE occasion. If I don’t review it a second or third time, it usually doesn’t stick.

    But at any rate, I’m glad you feel better! :)

    P.S. I know we both like to think about and discuss the preservation of our constitutional liberties, and how the responsibility of it rests within the Christian Church. I found a few videos on the internet of some sermons by contemporary missionaries, and they nail the problem very well — they go right to the root: repentance. I posted the videos here, in case you are interested. For my part, I was encouraged that there are still people today who are filling in the gap, who are taking a stand. I thought you might feel the same way. God bless.