7.14 The Bill of Rights

The video below talks about amendments to the U.S. constitution which protect the rights of U.S. citizens.  One of them is the rights to due process which means that you can't be locked up or punished without the authorities following the law.  You can't be kept in jail without a speedy trial to determine if you should be in jail.  Unfortunately this rule isn't always followed.  According to the law we are entitled to a trial by our peers.  That means by our fellow citizens.  There was a time in England when nobles were tried by the king instead of by other nobles which sometimes resulted in unfair trials.  The fifth amendment is the right not to testify in court about what's own actions or beliefs. That is also known as the right against self incrimination.  In the 17th century the Puritans were persecuted for not having the same beliefs as the church of England.  If a Puritan didn't want to admit that he was a Puritan  but didn't deny it either he was considered guilty of being a Puritan.  When Puritans came to America they wanted to be sure that wouldn't happen in America which is the reason for the fifth amendment.  The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a trial without unnecessary delay, the right to a lawyer, the right to an unbiased jury and the right to know who your accusers are and why you are being charged and what the evidence is for those charges.. 

Nowadays some students at colleges demand safe spaces where they are safe from hearing speech that might get them upset.  They call speech that criticizes people they like, hate speech, and try and prevent speakers from coming to colleges who say what they don't want to hear.  The right to safe spaces and to bar speakers is nowhere to be found in the Bill of Rights and for good reason.  These so call rights actually infringe on the rights of people to speak their mind.

The story of how the Bill of Rights came to be is discussed below.  The constitution had to be ratified to the U.S. by the states.  People in the states wanted to be sure a central government wouldn't take away their rights and insisted on a bill of rights before they would ratify the constitution.



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