Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Two hundred thirty years ago, on December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights – the first ten amendments to the US Constitution – went into effect when Virginia became the 9th state to ratify it. The Bill of Rights did not grant these rights to the people; instead, it enumerated rights that the people and the states inherently had and could not be taken away or denied to the people and states by the federal government.
Originally, seventeen articles were proposed by the House of Representatives, of which twelve were approved by both the House and the Senate and submitted to the states for ratification. Ten were ultimately ratified. One of the two articles that was not ratified as part of the Bill of Rights was eventually ratified as the 27th Amendment on May 7, 1992.
The ten amendments comprising the Bill of Rights are as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
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 Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, 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 offense 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.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial 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 counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, 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.
Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Of these ten Amendments, I consider the following as the most important, in order of importance:
1. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms: The 2nd Amendment is the right that protects all other rights. Without the right to keep and bear arms, there would be nothing standing in the way of a tyrannical government. Our Founding Fathers understood this and knew that without this right, the federal government would eventually abuse its power to the detriment of the people and the states.
2. The Right to Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom to Peaceably Assemble and Freedom to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances: Without the 1st Amendment, the federal government would have complete control over the people and their ability to live their lives freely and openly as they saw fit. Every tyrannical government throughout history has taken these rights away from the people as a means of subjugating them.
3. States’ Rights: Reserving powers that are not granted to the federal government by the constitution or prohibited by the Constitution to the states are reserved to the states, or to the people. The 10th amendments affirms that the federal government only has powers specifically granted to it by the Constitution. Any power not specifically granted to the federal government by the Constitution is left to the states or the people. This is, in my humble opinion, the most abused amendment in the Bill of Rights, and the federal government has exceeded the powers granted to it many times by loose interpretations of the Commerce clause and the Necessary and Proper clause by liberal federal judges.
4. Other Rights Retained by the People: The 9th Amendment protects those rights that were not enumerated in the Constitution or other amendments but should rightly remain as rights of the people. This is also an amendment that, due to its vagueness, is open to abuse, but at the same time provides a basis for appealing abuses of rights should they occur. A recent example of an abuse of the non-enumerated rights is the Right to a Free and Fair Election.
For 230 years the Bill of Rights have kept Americans safe from a tyrannical government. Today, these Rights are constantly under attack from the Left, the Deep State and the Global Elitists who see these Rights as a roadblock to achieving their ultimate agenda, and, the threat of attacks against these Rights has never been greater.
The only thing that stands in the way of these attacks being successful is We the People. We can no longer be a silent majority, we can no longer pretend that these attacks are by a small minority of radicals, we can no longer be confident that our elected representatives will do what is necessary to protect our Rights.
These attacks are real, they are widespread, and they are growing in both magnitude and violence. Those who would deny us of these Rights will not go quietly into the night. They have been preparing for this moment for years and they will not be denied.
We the People must protect these Rights at all costs or we shall surely lose them.