Bill of Rights Paraphrase

Paraphrase or rewrite the main ideas of each Amendment into your own detailed and understandable sentence or sentences.

I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging1 the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress2 of grievances3.

Congress cannot create or favor one religion, nor make the practice illegal; or limiting the free speech and any form of communication; or deprive the people of peaceful assembly, and not allow the people to petition to correct problems with the government.

1. abridging: Reduce 2. redress: A correction or to set right. 3. grievances: Official complaint over something wrong or unfair.

II. A well regulated Militia4, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms5, shall not be infringed6.

4. Militia: A civilian military force raised to help a regular army. 5. Arms: Weapons and ammunition 6. infringed: An act to limit or undermine.

III. No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered7 in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

7. quartered: Be stationed or lodged in a specified place.

IV. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants8 shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath9 or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

8. Warrants: A legal document authorizing a government official to make an arrest or search premises. 9. Oath: A sworn declaration that one will tell the truth.

V. No person shall be held to answer for a capital10, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury11, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

A person must formally be charged by a Grand Jury and the military has it’s own legal system. A person cannot be tried twice for the same crime and has the full right to remain silent by choice. Life, Liberty, and Property can only be taken through due process of the legal system. Private property can only be taken for public use with a fair market value.

10. capital: A charge liable to the death penalty. 11. Grand Jury: A prosecutor presents evidence before 16 to 23 members of this non-public jury to decide if there is enough evidence for a trial.

VI. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial12 jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel13 for his defence.

The suspect in any criminal case has the right to a public trial that is conducted with speed and before a fair jury within the State or district of the crime. The suspect will know all charges they are accused of violating; they have a right to obtain witnesses that favor their defense and they are also guaranteed a lawyer.

12. Impartial: Fair and just treatment. 13. Counsel: A lawyer who pleads cases in court.

VII. In Suits14 at common law15, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

14. Suits: A court proceeding to recover a right or claim. 15. common law: A system based on customs and traditions rather than on written laws.

VIII. Excessive bail16 shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

16. bail: Money paid as security to guarantee an accused person appears in court.

IX. The enumeration17 in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed18 to deny or disparage19 others retained by the people.

17. enumeration: A catalog or list. 18. construed: To give the meaning or intention of. 19. disparage: To reduce in high regard or rank.

X. The powers not delegated20 to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

20. delegated: To entrust or authorize.

Bill of Rights Paraphrase