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Amendments to the United States Constitution The Bill of Rights First 10 Amendments Scope of Federal Government Power 11th and 16th Amendments

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Amendments to the United States Constitution

The Bill of Rights First 10 Amendments

Scope of Federal Government Power 11th and 16th Amendments

Federal Elections and Terms 12th, 17th, 20th, 22nd, and 25th Amendments

Civil War Amendments 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments

Suffrage Amendments 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th and 26th Amendments

Prohibition - 18th and 21st Amendments

Amendment 1. Guarantees our 5 GREAT BASIC FREEDOMS. [“Civil Liberties” or freedom of expressions are the keystone of individual freedom.

a. Freedom of Religion or not to have a religion. People may worship or not worship as they please.

The government cannot favor one religion over another [separation of church and State – no prayers or devotional reading from the Bible in school.]

b. Freedom of speech – this freedom is restricted if it harms others. We have laws against slander [spoken] or libel [written statements] intended to damage one’s reputation.

Speech that offends the moral sense [obscenity] of others or speech that endangers the safety of the nation [military secrets]may be punished.

Bill of Rights



c. Freedom of the Press means we can write our opinions and circulate them to others through T.V., newspapers, or magazines. This freedom also protects our right to know. Obscenity cannot be sent through the mail but may be viewed in the privacy of your own house. There can be no prior restraint –stopping the spreading of news before they are published or broadcast.

d. Right to assemble for any peaceable purpose. Any political party or interest group has the right to hold a meeting as long as they are peaceful.

e. Right to petition government officials, or convey our opinions to them. You can get people to sign a petition and send it to government officials.

Bill of Rights [continued]

Amendment 2. Right To Keep And Bear Arms

The purpose was to prevent Congress from denying States the right to have a militia of armed citizens. The States and federal government can regulate the possession and use of firearms by individuals.

Bill of Rights [continued]

Amendment 3. No Quartering of Troops In Homes This is absolute during peacetime; limited during wartime.

Amendments 4-8 protect the individual in dealing with the police and courts.

Bill of Rights [continued]

Amendment 4. Limits The Conditions Under Which Police May Search for and Seize Evidence and People [Privacy Amendment]

A. No “Fishing Expeditions”by public officials [a search must be reasonable and based on probable cause].

B. In most cases, a search or arrest warrant will be necessary. The warrant must describe thespecific place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

C. A police officer may chase a suspect into his house & not secure a warrant (this would be probable cause).

D. The Supreme Court has ruled that evidence gained as a result of an unlawful search or seizure cannot be used at the trial. [Exclusionary Rule–has to beexcluded]

Bill of Rights [continued]

Amendment 5.Rights of AccusedPersons [5-8 have to do with “rights of the accused”]

A. A person can be triedfor a serious crime only if he has been accused of that crime by a grand jury.

B. No one may be tried twice for the same offense. [Double Jeopardy clause] – no one may be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense]

C. No one may be forced to testify against himself or his spouse. You don’t have to answer questions by the police or the courts. [Plead the “5th”]

D. No one can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law [fair and equal treatment under the law].

E. The government may take private property for a legitimate public purpose; but when it exercises that power of EMINENT DOMAIN [taking property for public use], it must pay a fair price.

Bill of Rights [continued]

So, if the jury foreman says?

There will be no 2nd trial.

New Cowboys stadium

meant property losses.


Change in QC [or QS]

Can city officials who want to redevelop an area with pricey townhouses and an upscale mall, that is “promote economic development” in a “distressed” community?

In Kelo(Susette) v. City of New London[Connecticut] [2005], the justices decided, by a 5 to 4 majority, that the Constitution allows the government to seize property, not only for “public use” such as building highways, but also to “promote economic development” in a “distressed community”. [Even though they didn’t think their community was distressed].

Amendment 6.Right To A Speedy Trial

A. IMPARTIAL JURY. You do not have to use a jury and can have the case transferred if it has received too much publicity.

B. Right to be told what crime you are accused of.

C. Right to hear and question all witnesses against you.

D. The right to compel [require their testimony] witnesses to appear at a trial to tell your side of the story.

E. Right to a lawyer.

Bill of Rights [continued]

Marcia Clark

Amendment 7. Jury Trial In Civil Cases[not a criminal matter – but where one person sues another] Applies to all disputes in excess of $20.

Amendment 8. No Excessive Bail or Fines, or“Cruel and Unusual Punishment”[like torture and beheading] [The Court of Military appeals has abolished an old Navy punishment of 3 days on bread and water as both cruel and unusual]

Bill of Rights [continued]

Tar and




Amendment 9. Unenumerated Rights – The Constitution does not describe all of our rights. This amendment guarantees those fundamental rights not enumerated. Courts can’t define all your rights but thatdoesn’t mean you don’t have them.

Amendment 10. Limits The Power Of The Federal Government. Powers not granted to the U.S., nor prohibited to it by the States are given to the States or the people. But what are they? State and federal governments have fought over what this means. In 1860, Southern States thought they had the right to quit the Union, starting the Civil War. The Union victory cemented the supremacy of federal power.

Both the 9th and 10th Amendments echo the theory of the social contract; if the people have not agreed to delegate the powers, people still have them.

Bill of Rights [continued]

As people put the Constitution into practice, they found that the machinery of governmentdid not work exactly the way its designers had expected. Slight changes were made in the 11th and 12th Amendments.

Amendment 11. [1798] Removed From The Federal Courts All Lawsuits By Individuals Against States.

You can bring suit against any State by introducing the case in the courts of the State that is being sued.

Amendment 12. [1804] Changed The Electoral system For Choosing The President & Vice President.

Originally, there was no distinction between candidates for president and vice president.

Civil War Amendments – 13, 14, & 15 – wiped out slavery.

[13 – freed the slaves; 14 – gave citizenship; 15 – gave right vote]

Amendment 13. [1865] Banned Slavery and Involuntary Servitude.

Amendment 14. [1868] Guaranteed Citizenship to the Freed slaves and Guaranteed Their Rights.

All citizens were to get “Due Process” [now was applied to the States] and “Equal Protection” of the laws.

Amendment 15. [1870] Guaranteed The right Of Freed Slaves To Vote.





Amendment 16. [1913] Income Tax Laws are Legal.

Amendment 17. [1913] Senators Will Be Elected By People, Not Legislatures.

Amendment 18. [1919] Prohibition [Prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages]

A. Prohibition didn’t stop drinking, or people from making and selling beer, wine, or whisky.

B. Bootleggers became rich by selling illegal liquor and bribing government officials. [In 1933, it was canceled by the 21st Amendment]

[This attempt to make public policy was a disaster. It lasted for 14 years (1919-1933). Gangsters bootlegged liquor; people died from drinking homemade booze; and millions broke the law by drinking anyway.]

Amendment 19. [1920] Women’s Suffrage [Right to vote] In 1972, 218 women from 26 States were arrested for picketing the White House. 100 went to jail, some for months. Hunger strikes followed. The movement had began in 1873 by Susan B. Anthony.

Women had been voting in some State and local elections since 1869.

It took 133 years for women to get to vote in national elections.

Progressive Era Amendments 16th-21st




UT student


Amendment 20. [1933] “Lame Duck Amendment”

A. Set new dates for the start of terms for Congress [January 3, instead of the first Monday of December following the election] and for the inauguration of the President and Vice President [January 20, instead of March 4]

B. Defeated candidates were called “Lame Ducks” suggesting that their political wings had been clipped. This shortened the time they could remain in office.

Amendment 21. [1933] Repealed the 18th Amendment [Prohibition]

Amendments 22–26 deal with the presidency and with presidential elections.

Amendment 22. [1951] Two-term Limit For Presidents or Not More Than 10 Years.


Amendment 23. [1961] Presidential Electors For Washington DC.

A. People living in the nation’s capital could not vote in previous national elections.

B. This gave them 3 members of the Electoral College, the same number elected by each of the less populous States. They now could vote.

Amendment 24. [1964] Poll Tax Banned In Federal Elections

A. Five States were still requiring a fee to vote. Many thought this was discriminatory.

B. Poll taxes were banned in State and local elections in 1966. [It violated the “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment]

Amendment 25. [1967] Presidential Disability and Succession

A. Vice President Succession – President nominates a Vice President and a majority of both houses must approve.

B. Presidential Disability – this is decided by the Vice President & a majority of the Cabinet. They send a written proclamation to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. The Vice President takes over as acting President. When the president recovers, he sends a written declaration to the same officials. If there is a disagreement over his recovery, the Vice President and Cabinet sends a new declaration within 4 days of the President’s. Congress must decide by a 2/3 vote within 21 days.

amendment 24 abolition of poll taxes 1964

The right of United States citizens to vote in Presidential and Congressional elections will not be denied by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax

1942 cartoon critical of Poll Tax

Amendment 26. [1971] Voting Age is Lowered To 18.

Who cannot vote? [the insane, criminals and those dishonorably discharged from the armed forces]

Amendment 27. [1992] Congressional Pay.

No law changing the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.


today s constitutional issues

Gun Control and the 2nd Amendment

Death Penalty and Cruel and Unusual

Prayer in Schools 1st Amendment

Censorship & Free Speech

Terrorism and Seize and Seizure rules – 4th

Term Limits for Congress

Campaign finance reform

Abortion and Due Process rights – 5th