The Bill of Rights
First 10 Amendments of the US Constitution
Introduced by James Madison and First US Congress in 1789
Limits the power of the federal government of the US, protecting all citizens, residents and visitors on US territory. Protects:
Freedom of speech, religion
The right to keep and bear arms
Freedom of assembly, petition
Prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and compelled self-incrimination
The Constitution – Generally
1. Separation of Powers: separation at the national level that creates checks and balances which are designed to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful. 2. Federalism: Simultaneous federal/national and state/local governments; 2 levels of sovereignty operating at the same time over the people (viable national government that can behave effectively for all of the people, yet the benefits of diversity and decentralization).
In looking at any question regarding government action, consider the following: 1. What part of government gets to take what actions?
2. Is the government branch taking the action constitutionally permitted to do so?
Functions of the Constitution:
Describes the responsibilities of the centralized government Enumerates powers to be exercised
Protects the rights of the individual
Separation of Power—creates a national government; separates power among 3 branches—division of power was designed to create a system of checks and balances. BLUEPRINT Federalism—Divides power between the federal and state government: Supremacy Clause sets up a hierarchical relationship b/w the federal government and the statesstate and local laws are void if they conflict with federal law. 10th 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,...