Bill of Rights Day: Dec. 15th

The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution, was ratified on Dec. 15, 1791. It protects states and individuals’ rights such as freedom of religion and speech.

 The first eight amendments of the Bill of Rights set forth specific guarantees and liberties. The Ninth Amendment acknowledges that the American people have rights that are not even specified in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

The Tenth Amendment emphasizes the national character of the United States constitutional system. It declares that the states or people retain those “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution.”

Most people, however, believe that their most important rights are those guaranteed by the First Amendment. Commonly called “First Amendment freedoms,” these are the fundamental freedoms of religion, speech, and press, as well as the right of the people to assemble and to petition a government.

Today the Bill of Rights plays an important role in the federal judicial system by guaranteeing various freedoms, including citizens’ protection against unreasonable search and seizure and the right to assemble peacefully. 

On the 150th anniversary of this event in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed December 15 as Bill of Rights Day. He wanted to make Americans aware of their rights and to remind them of their duties as citizens of the United States.

 

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