<Standard 5.25...........................................................................................................................Standard 5.27>

Identify the rights in the Bill of Rights and explain the reasons for its inclusion in the Constitution in 1791.

rotating gif.gifFor more material on the Bill of Rights, go to USI.9

game_icon.svg.pngThe Bill of Rights Match Game from Texas Law-Related Education and the State Bar of Texas.


The Bill of Rights

  1. Freedom of religion, speech, press, and peaceable assembly as well as the right to petition the government.
  2. Right to keep and bear arms.
  3. Protection from quartering of troops.
  4. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
  5. Due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, private property.
  6. Trial by jury and other rights of the accused.
  7. Civil trial by jury.
  8. Prohibition of excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment.
  9. Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
  10. Powers of states and people.

Reasons for the Inclusion of the Bill of Rights in 1791

Once the delegates at the Constitutional Convention agreed on the need to compose a Constitution, problems began to arise.
  • Northern and Southern states disagreed about the nature and presence of slavery.
  • Larger states with more population and smaller states with smaller populations disagreed about the nature of representation.
    • The largest issue concerned about the role of federal government in the life of its citizens.
  • Federalists wanted a strong national government so that a sense of law and order and basic functionality can be present in the new nation.
    • Arising out of the terrible reality of Shays' Rebellion as well as the high level of futility featured within the first Constitution called the Articles of Confederation, the Federalists, such as John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, were fairly pronounced on the issue of a strong federal governmental body.
  • At the same time, the anti-federalists, consisting of individuals like Patrick Henry and George Mason, felt that emboldening the federal government without some measure of individual freedom to act as a check against the authority would be a repeat of the tyranny featured with King George of Britain.
  • The Bill of Rights was the compromise that pleased both sides.
    • Federalists were happy because the federal government would retain its power to govern the nation effectively and properly.
    • The Anti-federalists were happy because the Bill of Rights became the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, and demanded that while federal government possessed power, it did not come at the cost of individual rights.

Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion overturning the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion overturning the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013

200pxrainbow flag.svg.pngThe Supreme Court and Gay Marriage explores constitutional issues raised by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

See also, Constitutional Amendments and Gay Marriage from PBS Newshour, and Between the Lines of the Defense of Marriage Act Opinion from the New York Times, June 26, 2013.

primary_sources.PNGSupreme Court Ruling overturning DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) in 2013.

external image Beautiful_red_apple.jpgFor a broader overview of Supreme Court cases and a 2014 map of Gay Marriage states, see The Gay Rights Controversy from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Tammy Baldwin, first openly gay United States Senator
Tammy Baldwin, first openly gay United States Senator

Openly Gay, and Openly Welcomed in Congress from the New York Times (January 26, 2013) discusses the 6 gay or bisexual House members and one gay senator of the 113th Congress, all democrats.

Female_Rose.pngClick here for Tammy Baldwin's Senate website