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The Bill of Rights; Why They Are Important and How They Apply Today

By sarah2014olson Feb 24, 2014 990 Words
The Bill of Rights; Why They Are Important and How They Apply Today

We all know that as citizens we have certain unalienable rights that are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, but why are they important and how do they apply today? The rights that are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are: freedom of religion, speech, assembly, press, and petition, right to keep and bear arms, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, no quartering of soldiers in any house without the consent of the owner, the right to due process of law, the right to a speedy trial, freedom from excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment, the right to a trial by jury, unenumerated rights, and powers reserved to the States. The powers reserved to the states holds that the states and the people have powers that are set aside and not listed item by item. It was intended to back up the understanding of the people that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the states or to the people. This amendment is important because it makes sure that states maintain their power, sovereignty, independence, and freedom. The enumerated rights hold that the naming of certain rights in the Constitution does not take away from the people’s rights that are not named. It maintains the rights retained by the people, and restates that the rights come from the people to the government and not the other way around. Unless stated in the Constitution, government does not have any rights or privileges and is limited by the clause in the constitution. Freedom from excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment protects people from having to pay unjustly high bail in order to be released from prison before trial. It also protects people from unfairly high fines and outlaws cruel and unusual punishment. It is important for the purpose that it protects the rights of the accused and sets guidelines for the conduct of courts in the subject of law. The right to a trial by jury guarantees that Americans will receive a jury trial in civil cases. According to Laws.com, this amendment “derived from the tyrannous actions of the English court system, where judges were seen as predatory creatures that only served the king and did not respect or care for those they sentenced.” This is important because it gives people the rights to a choice made by a group of their peers, instead of one judge. The Sixth Amendment provides for seven liberties including the right to a speedy trial, the right to a public trial, the right to be educated of awaiting charges, the right to an unbiased jury, the right to compel favorable witnesses to testify at trial, the right to face and to cross examine unhelpful witnesses, and the right to a legal counsel. It protects the accused of sitting in jail for a long duration of time and gives them the right to know who is doing the accusing and what the charges are. The Fifth Amendment states that no one can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. It protects the rights of anyone accused of a crime, and assumes that every person is innocent until proven guilty. The government cannot attempt a defendant more than once, which prevents double jeopardy. We also have the right to not convict ourselves if we choose not to. Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures requires that a warrant be given by a judge listing where can be searched and what or who can be seized. Although, if the person owning the house gives the okay to a search, a warrant is not needed. This allows us to not have to fear that the government could come crashing through our doors whenever they choose. Before the American Revolution, The British forced Americans to provide housing and food for their soldiers. The third amendment states that no one should have to house any soldier in time of peace unless they have the owner’s okay. This ensures privacy for every person. Without this amendment, the government would be allowed to use your possessions for their purposes. The right to keep and bear arms protects everyone’s right to have guns and to use them in lawful purposes. This amendment is widely controversial and debated right now. It is important because it gives you the right to use self-defense in your home. Outlawing guns would not keep them out of the hands of criminals. Even if the government were to ban guns, criminals would just find another way to harm others. The First Amendment provides for the basic liberties including freedom of speech, religion, petition, assembly, and press. Freedom of speech allows every American the ability to state their opinions to persuade others to change their minds. Freedom of the press allows us to be educated about what is happening in our world and our government. We are allowed to criticize and complain to the government without fear. Freedom of assembly allows us to join political parties or groups, and to learn to work together. Lastly, freedom to petition allows Americans to tell the government what is needed. These rights are the most important because we use them in our everyday lives. The Bill of Rights is very important in our everyday lives. If we didn’t have the Bill of Rights, we wouldn’t have our basic freedoms. We would not have freedom to express ourselves. Americans would not have the right to a fair trial and could be thrown in jail without having a trial, even if the he or she is innocent. The Bill of Rights also gives us the right to privacy to be able to live our lives the way we want, to an extent. Without the Bill of Rights, the United States would not be as far as we are today.

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