Constitutional Rights

List of 27 Amendments to the United States Constitution

Here are some simple explanations about our constitutional rights as outlined by the U.S. Constitution & Amendments:

Amendment - A written change to the Constitution

Bill of Rights - The first ten amendments to become a part of the U.S. Constitution in 1791.

Amendment #1 – Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition


Amendment #2 – Right to bear arms


Amendment #3 – No one may be forced to house soldiers


Amendment #4 – Protects against unreasonable search and seizure


Amendment #5 – Rights of the criminally accused (indictment by grand jury. no double jeopardy, no self-incrimination, due process of the law, eminent domain)


Amendment #6 – Rights to a speedy trial by jury (speedy trial, impartial jury, informed of charges, right to an attorney)


Amendment #7 – Rights to a jury trial in CIVlL CASES, more than $20 – people sue over money / property


Amendment #8 – No excessive bail, no cruel and unusual punishment


Amendment #9 – People have other basic rights not listed in Constitution


Amendment #10 – All powers not given to the federal government are left for the states to take care of / decide

Amendment #11 – Federal courts do not have jurisdiction in cases against a state


Amendment #12 – Provides for separate elections for President and Vice President


Amendment #13 – Abolishes slavery


Amendment #14 – Provides equality for all citizens; state governments must follow previously passed amendments


Amendment #15 – All males have the right to vote


Amendment #16 – Congress has the power to pass direct taxes, such as income tax


Amendment #17 – Senators are to be elected by the voters in their state; Governor fills State Senator positions if position opens during a term


Amendment #18 – Selling and drinking of alcoholic beverages is made illegal (prohibited)


Amendment #19 – Gives women the right to vote


Amendment #20 – Beginning of President, VP and Congress’ terms in office begins in January; presidential succession can take place before Presidential Inauguration


Amendment #21 – Selling and drinking of alcoholic beverages is made legal (allowed again, #18 was repealed or cancelled by this amendment)


Amendment #22 – Presidents may serve no more than 2 terms or a total of 10 years


Amendment #23 – District of Columbia is allowed presidential Electoral College votes


Amendment #24 – Eliminates poll tax (no required payment needed to vote)


Amendment #25 – Provides for presidential succession and filling a vacant Office of Vice President, if VP dies or their removal from office


Amendment #26 – Lowers voting age from 21 to 18


Amendment #27 – Congressional compensation increases may not take effect until after that congressional term is over (their pay raise doesn’t go into effect until new term)