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The first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution are known collectively as the Bill of Rights.  In it, it spells out what the Federal Government cannot do. These amendments were passed by Congress September 25, 1789 Ratified December 15, 1791.

These protect the people from undue intrusion of the Federal Government upon their private lives.  This in essence tells the Government to stay out. This is in a way spelled out in the 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, or to the people."


Main Protections:

  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Freedom of Speech
  • The Right to bear arms
  • No General Warrants
  • Protection of Self incrimination
  • No cruel or unusual punishment



The United States Bill of Rights

Explanation of the Bill of Rights at Cornell Law School


Bill of Rights institute