The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution —
– 也被称作权利法案 –
also known as the Bill of Rights —
were ratified or passed over 200 years ago.
但即使它有些 额 老旧
But even though they’re a bit, well, old,
these first 10 amendments are still the most debated and discussed section
of our Constitution today.
So, can you remember what they are?
Let’s take a look.
The First Amendment is the freedom of speech,
press, religion, assembly and petition.
This may be the most revered of the amendments.
The First Amendment protects our rights to say and write our opinions,
worship how we please, assemble together peacefully
and petition our government, if we feel the need.
The Second Amendment is the right to bear arms.
The original intent of the Second Amendment
was to protect colonists from the invading British soldiers,
but it now guarantees that you have the right
to own a gun to defend yourself and your property.
The Third Amendment is called the ‘Quartering’ amendment.
It was written in response to the British occupation,
and as a result of the colonists having to house — or quarter —
soldiers in their homes during the American Revolution.
Because of this amendment,
our government can never force us to house soldiers in our home.
The Fourth Amendment is the right to search and seizure.
The police can’t come into our home without a search warrant
and take our personal property.
Today, many concerns have arisen about our rights to privacy in technology.
For example, can the government track your location with your smartphone,
or can social media postings such as on Facebook and Twitter
be used without a warrant?
On to the Fifth: It’s all about due process.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘I plead the Fifth’
“I plead the Fifth”（我拒绝录口供）
in movies or on TV.
They’re talking about the Fifth Amendment,
which says that you don’t have to take the witness stand against yourself
if you may end up incriminating yourself.
OK, we’re halfway done.
The Sixth and Seventh Amendments are about how the legal system works.
If you’re accused of a crime,
you have the right to a speedy public trial and an impartial jury.
You also have the right to a lawyer,
and the right to take the stand if you choose.
This is important because it will prevent the accused from sitting in prison forever
and insists that the prosecution proceed with undue delay.
The Seventh says you have the right to a jury trial,
where 12 impartial peers decide your innocence or guilt in the courtroom,
as opposed to a judge doing it all alone.
The Eight Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
Is the death penalty cruel? Is it unusual?
It’s hard for Americans to agree on the definitions of cruel and unusual.
The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are called the non-rights amendments.
They say that the rights not listed in the Bill of Rights
are retained by the people in the states.
We have other rights that are not listed in the Constitution,
and the states have the right to make their own policies,
like instituting state taxes.
So now you know all 10 amendments.
Can you remember them all?
If not, remember this:
the Bill of Rights is a crucial piece of American history,
and though society has undergone many changes
these past 200 and some years,
the interpretation and application of these amendments are as vital today
as they were when they were written.