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Bill of Rights


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(1791)

The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the USA. The constitutional arrangements of 1787 were assumed to guarantee human and civil rights, but omission of specific rights led to criticism. To prevent this issue jeopardizing ratification, a Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791. Based on features of the English Bill of Rights (1689) and common law principles, it guaranteed freedom of speech, press, worship, assembly, and petition (the first amendment). US citizens had the right to speedy and fair trial, reasonable bail, and to bear arms. They could not be forced to incriminate themselves (the fifth amendment) or suffer unwarranted search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishments.

Subjects: Law.


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