Since 1788, 27 amendements have been drawn up in accordance with the Constitution (Art.V). Two-thirds of both Houses or of States must deeman amendment necessary, but it becomes part of the Constitution only after ratification by three-fourths of the States. If no ratification deadline - usually 7 years - has been set, an amendmentremains pending and the States may continue to consider it regardless of its age.
Ten of the 14 amendments that James Madison (1751 - 1836) proposed were ratified in 1791. They form what is known as theBill of rights as they provide basic legal protection for individual rights. Bills of Rights to recall their English counterpart.
Amendment 1 guarantees that Congress shall make no law regarding theestablishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise and protects freedom of speech, of the press, and the press, and the right to assemble. Civil libertarians call upon it whenever theadministration is felt to encroach on freedom. Amendment 2 guarantees "the right of the people to keep & bear arms" as a well-regulated militia" (a body of citizens) is necessary for the defense of the state.The 3rd forbids quatering soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent.
The next 4 amendments deal with justice. Amendment 4 protects people against unreasonable searches and seizureshence " every man's house is his castle". The 5th requires grand jury indictments. (= une accusation)*.
The 6th protects defendants, it guarantees the accused a speedy public trial by an impartial juryof peers and the right to be informed of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to obtain witnesses in his favor and to have an assistance of counsel. The 8th prohibitsexcessive bail or fines cruel and unsual punishment. It is called upon by death penalty opponents.
The 10th states the doctrine of reserved powers : all powers not delegated to the United States are...