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Analyzing the Bill of Rights

The United States won its independence from Great Britain in 1783. In 1787 the loosely-joined states of the new nation established the United States Constitution, a framework for a new government. The Constitution created a new federal government with three branches, defined the relationships between the branches, and built in a process to change the government and the Constitution without having to create a whole new one. Additions or changes to the Constitution are known as amendments. The Bill of Rights, written in 1791, became the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Just four years after the Constitution was signed, the people of the United States decided that these ten basic freedoms had to be added to the Constitution in order to guarantee that they could never be taken away.

Read the text of the Bill of Rights. Use the text to help you answer the questions below. Discuss your answers with the class.

Write True or False on the line next to each question.

1. Congress can pass laws creating a single, official religion. 

2. A person accused of a crime has the right to a speedy trial.   

3. People accused of crimes can face their accusers and call witnesses to testify for

4. A person can be arrested and put on trial for the same crime twice. 

5. The police can search any home, at any time, if there is probable cause. 

6. Congress cannot pass laws to prevent people from meeting and protesting the government. 

Read each description. Write the correct amendment on the line next to each sentence.

7. This amendment protects freedom of speech. 

8. The amendment that protects people from cruel and unusual punishment is amendment number  .

9. The right to bear arms is protected by amendment number  .

10. The amendment that prevents soldiers from seizing your home is amendment
number  .

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