First 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution
Bill of Rights Institute

Reference

Bill of Rights, 4 Mar 1789
U.S. National Archives, includes transcript and downloadable high-resolution image
Bill of Rights
Hyperlinked text with references to other areas of the Freedom Circle directory
United States Bill of Rights - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. While originally the amendments applied only to the federal government, most of their provisions have since been held to apply to the states by way of the Fourteenth Amendment. ..."

Web Sites

Bill of Rights - Security Edition, by Dean Cameron
"The Bill of Rights – Security Edition Card is The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, printed on each side of a sturdy, playing-card-sized, piece of metal."
Our Constitutional Rights
Uses humorous text and images to introduce the rights mentioned in the U.S. Constitution

Articles

Civil Society: Prepared Remarks of James W. Lark, III, at Bill of Rights Day Celebration, by James W. Lark, III, 6 Dec 2003
"Unfortunately, from the moment the Bill of Rights was ratified it has been under attack. In some cases, the attacks on our liberty have been overt and blatant. However, much more frequently the attacks are barely visible and subtle, and are launched not by people of ill will but rather by people who are well-intentioned."
Do Our Rights Come from the Constitution?, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Jun 1999
Dispels the myth of "constitutional rights"
"It is commonly believed that the rights of the American people come from the Constitution. Nothing could be further from the truth. ... The Declaration emphasizes that men have been endowed with certain fundamental and inherent rights that preexist government. In other words, man's rights don't come from the king or from any other government official."
Lessons about Our Constitution from Abu Ghraib, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 26 May 2004
Argues the need for a Constitution and a Bill of Rights to attempt to prevent abuses such as happened in Iraq
"Given that we now know how U.S. officials rule a country when they have omnipotent powers, without any constitutional restraints or guaranteed rights for the people, we should be thanking our lucky stars for the wisdom, courage, and foresight of the Framers and our ancestors."
On Socially Responsible Programming, by Eric S. Raymond, 2 Oct 1999
Speech prepared by and given on Eric's behalf upon receipt of the Norbert Weiner Award from the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
"If we want to be socially responsible programmers, our first duty is to defend and expand liberty — to defend, in particular, the individual freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Bearing in mind the First Amendment, no socially responsible programmer should cooperate with or assist any government program which censors or interdicts free speech."
Synergism Within the Bill of Rights, by Andrew Ausley, Dec 2003
Winner of Bill of Rights Day essay contest, sponsored by Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County, Fla., and The Advocates for Self-Government
"... as seen in the Constitution, it is the people who grant power to the government, thus it is impossible for the government to grant freedom to the people. The Bill of Rights was not written to be a list of the freedoms of American citizens, it was provided as a list of the things upon which the government may not encroach."
The Bill of Rights, by Hugo Lafayette Black, New York University Law Review, Apr 1960
Relates background stories that led to adoption of the Bill of Rights, including John Lilburne and religious persecution in colonial America
"It has been said, and I think correctly, that had there been no general agreement that a supplementary Bill of Rights would be adopted as soon as possible after Congress met, the Constitution would not have been ratified. ... I cannot agree with those who think of the Bill of Rights as an 18th Century straitjacket, unsuited for this age."
Related Topic: John Lilburne
The Freedom Pledge, by Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc., 22 May 2002
Suggested by JFPO for reciting at meetings or as a personal pledge
"I pledge my honor to the Bill of Rights, our precious national treasure. As the Bill is a fortress against tyranny, I will battle all tyrants. As the Bill protects liberty, I will live free. As the Bill guards rights born within all humanity, I will defend the freedoms of future generations. With my life, my words, and my daily deeds, with a vision of what can be, I honor all of the Bill of Rights for all mankind."
Democracy Versus Liberty, by James Bovard, The Freeman, Aug 2006
Discusses the dangers of equating liberty with "self-government" as majority rule
"But the Bill of Rights did not give freedom to Americans; instead, it was a solemn pledge by the government that it recognized and would not violate the pre-existing rights of individuals. The Bill of Rights was not 'radical' according to the beliefs of Americans of that era; it codified rights both long recognized in English common law and purchased in blood during the Revolution."
George Mason and the Bills of Rights, by Gary Williams, The Freeman, May 1992
Relates the life of George Mason, his primary role in writing the Virginia Bill of Rights and his opposition to ratifying the U.S. Constitution
"The Bill of Rights received a lot of attention during its recent 200th anniversary, but little recognition was given to George Mason, who was the driving force behind the document. ... Mason fought against ratification of the United States Constitution because it contained no bill of rights."
Related Topics: George Mason, Washington, DC
Give Me Liberty, by Rose Wilder Lane, 1936
Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
"No politician, yet, has asked American voters to give him the power to strip any State of the powers it has usurped from its citizens ... nor to add to the original list of restrictions upon political power—the list known as the Bill of Rights—further restrictions that will adequately protect the property, liberty and lives of persons living in the modern world and make the United States again the world-champion of human rights and the leader of the world-liberating revolution."
How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz), The Freeman, Jun 1996
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
"What bulwark of American liberty do we owe to the Antifederalists? ... The Bill of Rights. ... Antifederalists objected that [the proposed Constitution] lacked a bill of rights specifically prohibiting the federal government from violating key civil liberties. ... Antifederalists threatened to push for a second constitutional convention. To head this off, James Madison sponsored a bill of rights during the first session of Congress."
Individual Liberty and Limited Government: Walter E. Williams and The Spirit Of George Mason [PDF], by Michael D. White, 24 May 1993
Introduction to the 1993 Frank M. Engle Lecture, "The Legitimate Role of Government in a Free Economy", delivered by Walter Williams at The American College
"The first to speak on the Convention floor in favor of the Constitution's incorporation of a Bill of Rights that would provide personal guarantees to individuals and explicitly limit government's powers, Mason made a final plea for its inclusion before the Convention adjourned. ... That Bill of Rights is both a tribute to and a confirmation of George Mason's vision that individuals have fundamental rights that no government, however constituted, may alter or abolish."
Killing Iraqi Children, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 19 Jun 2006
Comments on a Detroit News editorial condoning the bombing, rather than the arrest and prosecution, of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the "collateral" death of a five-year old girl
"It's not difficult to see that the military holds the Bill of Rights in contempt, which is precisely why the Pentagon established its torture and sex abuse camps in Cuba and former Soviet-bloc countries ... It is not a coincidence that in the Pentagon’s three-year effort to 'rebuild' Iraq it has done nothing to construct a judicial system that would have independent judges issuing search and arrest warrants or that would protect due process, habeas corpus, jury trials, and the right to counsel."
Law as 'Reason' or as 'Violence'?, by Butler Shaffer, 17 Nov 2001
Compares modern "law" to ancient "law merchant" and describes various rationalizations used to justify the violence in the modern system
"If one reads a history of the cases decided by the United States Supreme Court, one finds the following fairly consistent patterns: ... personal liberties that were supposed to have been protected by the 'Bill of Rights' have been given a very restricted definition. Case after case reverberates with such phrases as 'freedom of religion does not include,' or 'free speech does not mean,' or ..."
Liberalism, by Friedrich A. Hayek, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History, 1978
Chapter 9; originally written in 1973 for the Enciclopedia del Novicento; covers both the history of both strands of liberalism as well as a systematic description of the "classical" or "evolutionary" type
"The explicit formulation by the former British colonists, in a written constitution, of what they understood to be the essentials of the British tradition of liberty, intended to limit the powers of government, and especially the statement of the fundamental liberties in a Bill of Rights, provided a model of political institutions which profoundly affected the development of liberalism in Europe."
The Anatomy of the State, by Murray N. Rothbard, 1974
Examines several attributes of the State, including how it maintains and grows itself and how it deals with other States
"Certainly the most ambitious attempt to impose limits on the State has been the Bill of Rights and other restrictive parts of the American Constitution, in which written limits on government became the fundamental law to be interpreted by a judiciary supposedly independent of the other branches of government."
The Court Almost Gets It Right on Guns, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Oct 2008
Discusses the U.S. Supreme Court majority and minority opinions on the D.C. law that bans handguns in private homes
"The misunderstanding of the nature of rights runs deep. After the decision, the Chicago Tribune called for repeal of the Second Amendment. But if rights are inherent in human nature, repeal would make no difference. A right would not disappear merely because a government document ceased to say it should not be infringed."
What Is the Constitution?, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jun 2002
Discusses constitutional interpretation, in particular the ninth and tenth amendments, in light of comments from Antonin Scalia about a national ID card
"The Bill of Rights has distracted us from essential questions about government power. When someone proposes that the federal government do something, the first question most constitutional scholars ask is whether that power would violate any provision of the Bill of Rights. Since the list of rights is brief, the debate centers on how strictly or loosely we should interpret the amendments."
Will the Democrats Become Part of the Problem?, by Paul Craig Roberts, 10 Nov 2006
Discusses the outcome of the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections and offers recommendations primarily for congressional Democrats
"If the legislation that has been put on the books permitting spying on Americans without a court warrant, legalizing torture and self-incrimination, and repealing habeas corpus and the right to an attorney remains on the books, the United States will be a police state regardless of which party is in power. ... The notion that Americans can be protected from 'terror' by giving up the Bill of Rights is absurd."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

So how was school today?, by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 31 Jan 2011
"Pretty cool, actually! We learned about something called 'The Bill of Rights'"
Related Topic: Learning