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Bill of Rights for Kids

Bill of Rights for Kids: What is the Bill of Rights?
The Bill of Rights contains the first 10 amendments, or additions, the US Constitution. What is the Bill of Rights? The Bill of Rights makes it clear that, although the federal government had powers specifically granted by the Constitution, the individual states and their people also had rights and laws that would be enforced at state level. What is the Bill of Rights? The Bill of Rights documents the right to freedom of religion, the right to have freedom of speech, the right of people to be informed by the freedom of the press, the freedom to meet to exchange ideas and opinions and the freedom to formally request the government to right wrongs. The Bill of Rights also documents rights in relation to weapons, privacy, the right to a fair trial by jury and protects people from excessive punishments for crimes.

Bill of Rights for Kids
George Washington was the 1st American President who served in office from April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797. One of the key events during his presidency was the passing of the Bill of Rights. Also refer to our articles on the US Government. 

The Bill of Rights

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Definition of the Bill of Rights for Kids
The Bill of Rights is a summary of basic rights and privileges claimed by the American people, it claims rights to ensure "sovereignty, freedom and independence" of US citizens.

Simplified Summary of the Bill of Rights for Kids
Summary: The short, simplified summary of the content each of the Bill of Rights are:

2nd Amendment simplified summary: RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
3rd Amendment simplified summary: QUARTERING OF SOLDIERS
4th Amendment simplified summary: ARREST AND SEARCHES
5th Amendment simplified summary: RIGHTS OF PERSONS ACCUSED OF CRIMES
6th Amendment simplified summary: RIGHTS OF PERSONS ON TRIAL FOR CRIMES
7th Amendment simplified summary:  JURY TRIALS IN CIVIL CASES
8th Amendment simplified summary: LIMITATIONS ON PUNISHMENTS AND BAIL
9th Amendment simplified summary: RIGHTS KEPT BY THE PEOPLE
10th Amendment simplified summary: POWERS KEPT BY THE STATES OR THE PEOPLE

Bill of Rights for Kids
This article answers all the question you might have about the Bill of Rights. The following articles provide simplified facts and information about each of the firs ten amendments.

First Amendment (Freedom of Speech)

Second Amendment (Right to Bear Arms)

Third Amendment (Quartering of Soldiers)

Fourth Amendment (Arrest and Searches)

Fifth Amendment (Rights of Persons accused of Crimes)

Sixth Amendment (Rights of persons on Trial for Crimes)

Seventh Amendment (Jury Trials in Civil Cases)

Eighth Amendment (Limitations on Punishments and Bail)

Ninth Amendment (Rights kept by the People)

Tenth Amendment (Powers kept by the states or the people)

Bill of Rights for kids: What was the English Bill of Rights?
The term "Bill of Rights" originated in England in reference to the 1689 Bill of Rights which listed a number of fundamental rights and liberties of the English people. The 1689 English Bill of Rights and the 1215 Magna Carta had a massive influence on the America Constitution and its first ten amendments. The English Bill of Rights provided for a frequently summoned Parliament, free elections and freedom of speech. It also stated that no taxes could be levied, nor laws dispensed, without the authority of parliament. It also said that no excessive fines should imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments should be inflicted on criminals. The Magna Carta of England was the basis for due process of law that should be known and orderly, which eventually led to Trial by Jury.

Bill of Rights for kids: Why was the Bill of Rights Created?
Why were the amendments created? American colonists expected to have the same rights granted in England by the Magna Carta and the 1689 English Bill of Rights. But the American colonists were denied these basic rights. People living in the English colonies of North America were not given the same rights as the English. The Bill of Rights was created so that
the basic privileges of Americans were put into writing ensuring that such injustices would never happen again.

Bill of Rights for kids: The War of Independence and the State Constitutions
The harsh and unfair treatment by the British had led to the War of Independence, which began on April 18, 1775. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776 announcing the separation of the colonies from Britain and making them into the United States of America. On May 15, 1776 Congress advised the thirteen original colonies to form their own governments and to write their own State constitutions. By 1781 every one of the thirteen colonies had written their own constitutions but a central government needed to be established. The new Federal Government needed a Constitution.

Bill of Rights for Kids: Why was the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution?
The Constitution was written to establish the principles of the political, legal, and economic systems of America.
And this was done, so why was the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution? There were opponents who raised strong objections to the scope of the new Constitution.  People in the individual states were disturbed by the amount of power given to the Federal government. Many believed took the control of affairs away from the people. Some objected because there was nothing in the Constitution to prevent Congress from passing laws to destroy the freedom of the press. However, the biggest objection of all was because there was no Bill of Rights attached to it, providing written documentation about the basic rights of citizens encompassing the concepts of "sovereignty, freedom and independence".

Bill of Rights for Kids: Who wrote the Bill of Rights?
Who wrote the Bill of Rights? Excellent question. The amendments were written primarily by James Madison who was inspired by Thomas Jefferson, but credit is also given to the ideas of George Mason, who was a staunch advocate for the inclusion of individual liberties into the Constitution. James Madison is called the "Father of the Constitution" due to his significant role in ensuring that the first 10 amendments were added to the Constitution. 

How was the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution?
The conventions for the individual states proposed amendments to the Constitution to resolve any objections they had. James Madison was extremely well read in the history of government and used a range of sources, including the State Constitutions, the English Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta when composing the amendments to the Constitution. 

Bill of Rights for Kids: When was the Bill of Rights written?
James Madison wrote the amendments in 1789 and they were proposed to Congress on June 8, 1789.

Bill of Rights for Kids: When was the Bill of Rights ratified?
The 10 amendments ratified, meaning that they came into effect, in 1791. The addition of the first 10 amendments brought agreement to the US Constitution and the Union of the 13 original states was complete.

Where was the Bill of Rights written?
The US Constitution was written in 1787 during the Constitutional Convention at the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. James Madison lived all of his life in Virginia, only away from home attending conventions and during his presidency. It therefore is safe to assume that elements of the amendments were drafted in both Pennsylvania and Virginia. 

Bill of Rights for Kids - President George Washington Video
The article on the Bill of Right for Kids provides an overview of one of the major issues of his presidential term in office. The following video will give you additional important facts and dates about the political events experienced by the 1st American President whose presidency spanned from April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797.

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