Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens In today’s society, the responsibilities of the citizens are to know their rights. Citizens are expected to; understand the rules that our government has presented to us, abide by these rules for our own well being and freedom, and serve our communities and government back. In 1789, the Constitution of the United States was ratified. Many people were not pleased with this constitution; they felt as though it did not protect their rights to the fullest extent and wanted to amend the constitution.
On December 15, 1791, the Constitution of the United States was amended and we were given ten amendments, known as The Bill of Rights, to protect our freedoms. The Bill of Rights is a list of the most important rights citizens have and value. The purpose of the bill is to protect against any infringement from the government, so the citizens can live in a free nation and have control over their communities and lives.
The first amendment on the Bill of Rights states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ” This amendment protects the right to fallow whatever religion one chooses to and be able to safely practice that religion. The amendment also grants one the freedom to say whatever they want, as long as it does not cause an out break of danger and chaos.
Freedom of the press allows one to write and publish anything appropriate to the community. Freedom of assembly is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests at certain times and places. Lastly, to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, this specifically prohibits Congress from abridging the right of the people. The second amendment; “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. This amendment guarantees a strong, well trained military to protect the United States. This amendment also protects the right to own a firearm and the government can’t say otherwise. “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. ” The third amendment states that soldiers are not allowed to be placed and granted access to live in ones home with out the owner agreeing to it first.
The government may ask the owner, and with permission the soldier may take residency. The forth amendment states ; “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. This amendment protects the right of ones possession. Any representation of the government is not allowed to go though ones possessions and/or make an entry to ones living environment with out a warrant that allows such activities; then the government may search and take away personal belongings. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. The fifth amendment give one the right to refuse to answer a question because the response could provide self-incriminating evidence of an illegal conduct punished by fines, penalties or forfeiture. It also states that no one is to be denied the right to life, liberty, and property. Ones private property may not be taking by the government and used for the public without a higher consent.
The sixth amendment of the Bill of Rights states; “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. This gives everyone convicted of a crime the right to a trial by jury in the district where the crime was committed. “In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. ” The seventh amendment codifies the right to a jury trial in certain civil trials.
The eighth amendment prohibits the government from excessive bail and from harsh, unlawful punishment. “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. ” “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. ” The ninth amendment addresses rights of the people that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
The last amendment, the tenth amendment; “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” restates the Constitution’s principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the states by the Constitution of the United States are reserved to the states or the people. The responsibilities of the citizens are also to vote, attend jury duty and to attend to community participation. Voting is not only a right, it is a privilege; by voting, the people have a voice in the government.
If one is presented with the task of jury duty, they are expected to take off from work and attend. Jury duty is an important way to participate in government, unique to America and fundamental to preserving our commitment to government by the people. These are all rights for us, the citizens, as a way to retain control of our own lives and communities with out the infringement of the government so the government doesn’t have complete control. Work Sited: http://www. kids. gov/6_8/6_8_government_rights. shtml http://www. archives. gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript. html