Segments in this Video

Bill of Rights (03:05)


The first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution outline the basic rights of U.S. citizens. The Bill of Rights was added to limit the power of the federal government.

First Amendment (04:43)

This amendment grants freedom of speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly. The amendment prohibits the federal government form creating a national religion.

Second Amendment (02:43)

This amendment is the right to bear arms and have a well-regulated militia. It is one of the most controversial amendments.

Third Amendment (00:44)

This amendment prohibits soldiers from being quartered in a citizen's home. It was a direct response to treatment of the colonists by the British.

Fourth Amendment (02:33)

This amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. It is the reason a warrant is necessary for law enforcement to enter a citizen's home.

Fifth Amendment (03:07)

This amendment gives citizens the right to a grand jury and protects them from testifying against themselves in court. It also protects citizens from double jeopardy.

Sixth and Seventh Amendments (02:49)

The sixth amendment outlines rights granted to citizens who are arrested, including the right to a speedy trial or a plea bargain. The seventh amendment extends the right to a jury trial to federal cases.

Eighth Amendment (03:34)

This amendment protects citizens from cruel and unusual punishment. The eighth amendment is often cited in arguments against the death penalty.

Ninth and 10th Amendments (02:24)

These amendments outline additional rights. Any rights not delegated in the constitution are granted to the states.

11th Amendment (00:31)

This amendment outlines the powers of the federal court system. It explains how a citizen of one state can sue a citizen of a different state.

12th Amendment (01:34)

This amendment changed the way the electoral college was used to elect the president and vice president. Before 1804, the person with the most votes became president and the person with the second most became vice president.

Civil War Amendments (05:14)

The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were a result of the Civil War and adopted during the Reconstruction Era. The amendments prohibit slavery and ensure that everyone has equal protection under the law.

16th Amendment (01:04)

This amendment created federal income tax. It has been challenged numerous times but remains.

17th Amendment (00:38)

This amendment changes how senators receive their seats. Senators are required to be elected rather than appointed.

18th Amendment (01:02)

This amendment is known as Prohibition. It prohibited the manufacturing, selling, and transporting of alcoholic beverages.

19th Amendment (01:03)

This amendment gave women the right to vote. Suffragists worked for many years to win this right for women.

20th Amendment (01:38)

This amendment changed the date newly elected officials take office. Initially, officials were given four months to get to Washington, D.C. because of necessary travel time.

21st Amendment (00:59)

This amendment repealed Prohibition. Instead of stopping alcohol consumption, Prohibition gave rise to criminal activity surrounding alcohol manufacturing and selling.

22nd Amendment (01:15)

This amendment limits the presidency to two terms. Prior to the amendment, there was no limit, but most presidents followed George Washington's example and did not run for a third term.

23rd Amendment (00:47)

This amendment granted Washington, D.C. the same number of electors as the least populous state. Until the amendment was adopted, Washington did not have an electoral vote in presidential elections.

24th Amendment (00:41)

This amendment highlights voting rights. It prohibits poll taxes or other monetary requirements to vote.

25th Amendment (03:48)

This amendment outlines how Congress must address presidential or vice-presidential vacancies. The amendment allows for a vice president who becomes president to appoint a new vice president.

26th Amendment (01:13)

This amendment lowered the voting age to 18. It is the most recent amendment to expand voting rights.

27th Amendment (01:38)

This amendment placed a restriction on congressional pay raises. Congress can approve pay raises but they do not go into effect until the next Congress is elected.

Credits: The United States Bill of Rights (00:40)

Credits: The United States Bill of Rights

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The United States Bill of Rights

Part of the Series : U.S. Constitiontion / Bill of Rights
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Learn what makes the Bill of Rights so important to America! "Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America..." That preface begins the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States. When the Constitution was written, certain framers, powerful political leaders of their day such as Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, and Patrick Henry, insisted on adding basic legal protections to ensure individual rights. As a consequence, the first ten amendments were added to clarify the rights of the citizens of the United States of America. These are essential human rights, granted to all of us, that we should know and understand. In this video, they are laid out in very-easy-to-understand language, with comments from noted American political science experts from major universities who help interpret the language of this essential document. In addition, this video includes all the subsequent amendments made to The Constitution of the United States to the present day. These include such important national issues as slavery, prohibition, and the extension of voting rights to all citizens.

Length: 50 minutes

Item#: BVL154876

Copyright date: ©2004

Closed Captioned

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