The First amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights. The first amendment grants the freedom of speech, religion, and to assemble. It also states, Congress, The President or The Court System can declare a national religion. At the moment in history, it is the freedom of religion or the separation of church and state. Many people think that this phrases originates within the constitution. In reality this phrase comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson addressed to the Danbury Baptists.
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." (Thomas Jefferson's Letter)
This letter was in response to concerns, that the Danbury Baptists Association had, due to the fact that Connecticut’s state constitution had a lack of protection for religious freedoms. Jeffersons's response (above) said basically that the Federal Government will not allow any interference into the religious matters of its citizens. Jefferson's "wall" was that of Government not meddling in the matters of religion, not that no religious and government symbols can be mixed.
The second amendment gives the American people the right to own and utilize firearms. The intent of this was in case of any incident that the government attempted to violate the Constitution by force the people could fight back.
The Sixth Amendment gives the right to a speedy trial, trial by your peers, right to an attorney, and you will be tried in the county of which you committed the crime. The right to a speedy trial means you will be charged and the district attorney will be ready to try the case within a set amount of time. This amount of time is defined differently in each state. The state will provide you with an attorney if you can not afford one.
The Seventh Amendment basically says that if money is involved in a dispute that it can go to trial.
The Eighth Amendment talks about excessive amounts of bail, the bail must be proportional to the crime committed.
The Ninth Amendment says that these are not the only rights a person has.
The Tenth Amendment says that the rights not listed belong to the states, to decide what is right.
The Eleventh Amendment gave the right to the Supreme Court to hear cases against a state by a citizen or another state. This said that states did not have sovereign immunity when suit was brought against them.
The Twelfth Amendment was a reaction to the 1800 Presidential election. This amendment made Presidential Tickets.
The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery.
If you were born in the United States you are a full citizen, with equal protection, under the fourteenth amendment. This equal protection clause was written for blacks in the south, but is now being used as an argument for gay marriage.
The Fifteenth Amendment said regardless of your skin color you are allowed to vote. This still only allowed men to vote.
The Sixteenth Amendment is necessary but no one likes it because it made federal income tax legal.
The seventeenth Amendment made it a popular vote for senators verses a election from the state legislature.
The Eighteenth Amendment made the sale, and consumption of alcohol illegal. This is also know as prohibition.
The Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote. Some states like Wyoming had given women the right to vote earlier, then the federal government.
The Twentieth Amendment is known as the FDR or lame duck amendment. This amendment pushed up the Presidential Inauguration from March to January.
The Twenty-First Amendment was the repeal of prohibition or the 18th Amendment.
This limits the number of terms that a president can serve to two. This was pasted by a Republican so FDR would be forced to stop running for office. This really hurt the Republican party when Regan could have easily won a third term.
The Twenty-Third Amendment gave the people of Washington D.C. three electoral votes.
The Twenty-Fourth eliminated poll taxes. This was being done in the south to keep poor blacks from being able to vote.
This allows the President to give over power temporally to the Vice-President. It also allows the Vice-President, Speaker of the House, and President Pro Tempt of the Senate to temporally remove the President from power due to something severally impairing the Presidents judgement. It also was parallelled by the Presidential Succession Act which established a line of succession for the Presidency.
The Twenty-Sixth Amendment gave any citizen who is 18 years old or older the right to vote.
The Twenty-Seventh Amendment says that a congressman can not get a pay raise until he or she are reelected.
The Constitution of The United States of America and The Constitution of the State of California.
The Constution of The United States With case summaries by Smith, Edward Smith.
Peltason, J.W. Understanding the Constution. CBS College