How Do We Amend The Constitution - Essay

1514 words - 7 pages

Amendments Study Sheet
Amending the Constitution
One of the most important features of the Constitution is the ability to amend or change the document in order to adapt it to changing times and conditions. Amending the Constitution should rightly be a difficult task, there are however a few methods to accomplishing these significant changes.
Method 1: Amendment Proposed by 2/3rds Vote in Each House of Congress
Method 2: Amendment Proposed at a National Constitutional Convention
Ratified by 3/4ths of the State Legislatures OR Ratified by Constitutional Conventions in 3/4ths of the States
Historic Roots
· Freedom of Religion (by Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause)
· Freedom of Press
· Freedom of Speech
· Freedom of Assembly
· Freedom to Petition the Government
The English gov't had suppressed speech, assembly and press rights in an attempt to quell the growing colonial discontent.
Right to Bear Arms
· Right to keep and bear arms
In the period prior to the revolution, the English attempted to limit militia activity, as they rightly feared preparations for a coming revolution.
No Quarter
· Right to protection from troops being quartered in homes during peacetime
The Quartering Act passed by English Parliament required the colonists to house and feed British troops stationed in the colonies.
Search and Seizure
· Right against unreasonable search and seizure
· Warrants require cause
British troops often search houses and property at will, in an attempt to suppress organizations working towards a revolution.
Rights of the Accused
· Cannot be tried for the same crime twice (double jeopardy)
· Cannot be forced to testify against yourself (self-incrimination)
· Right to a fair trial with all proper legal rights enforced (due process)
· Right to fair compensation ($$) when the gov't takes your property for public use (eminent domain)
Many accused under British law in the colonies, were jailed without being accused of a crime. It was also not uncommon for a person in the colonies to be tried under the laws of Britain, without regard to the local laws passed within the colonies.
More Rights of the Accused
· Right to be informed of the charges against you
· Right to a speedy and public trial
· Right to an impartial jury
· Right to face witnesses against you in court
· Right to counsel (a lawyer)
· Right to call witnesses in your defense
In the era prior to the revolution, British courts could keep a suspect in jail without accusing him/her of a crime or bringing them into a court of law. Many suspects sat in prison for years awaiting trial, only to be found innocent an released.
Rights in a  Civil Case
· Right to a trial by jury in a civil case (non-criminal case)
This provision protected the idea of trial by jury (a fundamental notion in both English and American law) and extended it to all cases private or public.
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
· Right to protection against cr...

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