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Know Your America: The Bill of Rights

Sentinel Staff
Friday, January 11, 2019

The United States of America is the world's oldest surviving federation -- a federal republic and a representative democracy. 

We as Americans developed our ideology of "republicanism" in our quest of independence from Great Britain, asserting that government rested on the will of the people and expressed in their local legislatures. 

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the "Declaration of Independence," which proclaimed that the 13 colonies were forming an independent nation and had no further allegiance to the British crown.

Upon the defeat of the British in 1781, which ended the American Revolutionary War, the newly formed country's leadership developed the United States Constitution, which serves as the supreme law of the United States.

The Constitution is organized into three parts: the Preamble, the seven Articles (which establishes how the Government is structured), and the Amendments -- the first ten of which are called the "Bill of Rights."

The Seminole Sentinel in today's edition, will be republishing the Bill of Rights, as a reminder the liberties we as Americans have based upon the laws established in the Constitution.

Amendment I
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.

Amendment 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 offense 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
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 defense.

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 reexamined 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.

In future editions of the Seminole Sentinel, we will look at other portions of the U.S. Constitution, again as a reminder the liberties we as Americans have based upon the laws established in the Constitution.