Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred
and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the
States, having at the time of their adopting the
Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent
misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further
declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as
extending the ground of public confidence in the Government,
will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress
assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the
following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the
several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the
United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified
by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to
all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution;
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment
of the Constitution of the United States of America,
proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of
the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the
Note: The following text is a transcription of the
first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original
form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and
form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."
Amendment I One
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 Two
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 Three
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 Four
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.
Amendment V Five
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 VI Six
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 VII Seven
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 Eight
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines
imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX Nine
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights,
shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained
by the people.
Amendment X Ten
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.