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Vol. 5: Amendments I-XII (Bill of Rights)

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Source: The Founders' Constitution, edited by Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001), 5 vols.

Copyright: 1987 University of Chicago. This edition is reprinted by arrangement with the University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. Liberty Fund, in cooperation with Chicago University Press, publishes the paperback version of the 5 volume The Founders' Constitution, ed. Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner (1987, 2000) and co-sponsors the online version hosted by the University of Chicago Press. Please visit Liberty Fund's online catalog to order a copy. The links on this page direct readers to an external web site hosted by the University of Chicago which retains copyright to the material.

Fair Use: This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

This page links to the primary sources at The Founder's Constitution website (jointly hosted by the University of Chicago and Liberty Fund) and follows the structure of volume V of the paperback book published by Liberty Fund.

The Bill of Rights and Amendments

Bill of Rights

Amendment I (Religion)

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.

Amendment I (Speech and Press)

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.

Amendment I (Petition and Assembly)

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.

Amendment II

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.

Amendment III

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.

Amendment IV

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.

Amendments V and VI (Criminal Process)

(Criminal Process)

V

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.

VI

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.

Amendment V (Due Process and Taking)

(Due Process and Taking)

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.

Amendment VII

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.

Amendment VIII

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

Amendment IX

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

Amendment X

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.

Amendment XI

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

The Eleventh Amendment was proposed by Congress on 4 Mar. 1794, when it passed the House, having previously passed the Senate on 14 Jan. (Annals 4:30--31, 477--78). It appears officially in 1 Stat. 402. Ratification was completed on 7 Feb. 1795, when the twelfth State (North Carolina) approved the amendment, there being then fifteen States in the Union. Official announcement of ratification was not made until 8 Jan. 1798, when President John Adams in a message to Congress stated that the 11th Amendment had been adopted by three-fourths of the States and that it "may now be deemed to be a part of the Constitution" (Richardson 1:260). In the interim South Carolina had ratified, and Tennessee had been admitted into the Union as the sixteenth State.

The several State legislatures ratified the Eleventh Amendment on the following dates: New York, 27 Mar. 1794; Rhode Island, 31 Mar. 1794; Connecticut, 8 May 1794; New Hampshire, 16 June 1794; Massachusetts, 26 June 1794; Vermont, between 9 Oct. and 9 Nov. 1794; Virginia, 18 Nov. 1794; Georgia, 29 Nov. 1794; Kentucky, 7 Dec. 1794; Maryland, 26 Dec. 1794; Delaware, 23 Jan. 1795; North Carolina, 7 Feb. 1795; South Carolina, 4 Dec. 1797.

Amendment XII

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;--The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;--The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President--The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

The Twelfth Amendment was proposed by Congress on 9 Dec. 1803, when it passed the House, having previously passed the Senate on 2 Dec. (Annals 13:209, 775--76). It was not signed by the presiding officers of the House and Senate until 12 Dec. It appears officially in 2 Stat. 306. Ratification was probably completed on 15 June 1804, when the legislature of the thirteenth State (New Hampshire) approved the amendment, there being then seventeen States in the Union. The Governor of New Hampshire, however, vetoed this act of the legislature on 20 June, and the act failed to pass again by two-thirds vote then required by the State constitution. Inasmuch as Article 5 of the Federal Constitution specifies that amendments shall become effective "when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States or by conventions in three-fourths thereof," it has been generally believed that an approval or veto by a governor is without significance. If the ratification by New Hampshire be deemed ineffective, then the amendment became operative by Tennessee's ratification on 27 July 1804. On 25 Sept. 1804, in a circular letter to the Governors of the several States, Secretary of State Madison declared the amendment ratified by three-fourths of the States.

The several State legislatures ratified the Twelfth Amendment on the following dates: North Carolina, 22 Dec. 1803; Maryland, 24 Dec. 1803; Kentucky, 27 Dec. 1803; Ohio, between 5 Dec. and 30 Dec. 1803; Virginia, between 20 Dec. 1803 and 3 Feb. 1804; Pennsylvania, 5 Jan. 1804; Vermont, 30 Jan. 1804; New York, 10 Feb. 1804; New Jersey, 22 Feb. 1804; Rhode Island, between 27 Feb. and 12 Mar. 1804; South Carolina, 15 May 1804; Georgia, 19 May 1804; New Hampshire, 15 June 1804; and Tennessee, 27 July 1804. The amendment was rejected by Delaware on 18 Jan. 1804, and by Connecticut at its session begun 10 May 1804. Massachusetts ratified this amendment in 1961.

Last modified April 10, 2014