By Jason W. Stevens
December 15, known as Bill of Rights Day, celebrates the ratification by the states of the Bill of Rights, which happened on that date in 1791.
The Bill of Rights, or the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, not only helped secure popular support for the fledgling government but also provided a powerful weapon in defense of the people’s liberties.
The quiz below, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, provides an opportunity for you to test your knowledge of the Bill of Rights and Bill of Rights Day.
1. Which president was responsible for signing legislation creating Bill of Rights Day?
This original “Second Amendment” was finally added to the Constitution as the 27th Amendment, more than 200 years later. Bill of Rights Day is observed on December 15 each year, as called for by a joint resolution of Congress approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941. (Constitution Center)
2. Which Founding Father was responsible for proposing the Bill of Rights in the first Congress in 1789?
On June 8, 1789, James Madison introduced his proposed amendments to the Constitution, which would eventually become known as the Bill of Rights. (Guides)
3. Which Founding Father wrote in The Federalist Papers that a Bill of Rights was “unnecessary and dangerous”?
Being a federalist, Hamilton believed that a Bill of Rights was both unnecessary and dangerous for the American people. He believed that the Constitution already guaranteed a separation of governmental power and individual rights, it just wasn't flat out stated. (Prezi)
4. What five freedoms are protected under the First Amendment?
The five freedoms outlined in the First Amendment are: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assembly and the right to petition the government. (Star Tribune)
5. Which of the following is NOT prohibited under the Eighth Amendment?
The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This amendment prohibits the federal government from imposing unduly harsh penalties on criminal defendants, either as the price for obtaining pretrial release or as punishment for crime after conviction. (Constitution Center)
6. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” is protected under which amendment?
Amendment IV: 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. (Constitute Project)
7. In which amendment would you find the ‘Takings Clause’ in the Bill of Rights (“nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”)?
Amendment V: 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. (Constitute Project)
8. Where would you find the ‘Reserved Powers of the States’ in the Bill of Rights (“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.”)?
Amendment X: 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. (Constitute Project)
9. Which amendment, originally proposed with the Bill of Rights in 1789, was not ratified until 203 years later, in 1992?
The Twenty-seventh Amendment (Amendment XXVII) to the United States Constitution prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until the start of the next set of terms of office for representatives. (Wikipedia)
10. One amendment originally proposed with the Bill of Rights in 1789 was never ratified. What was that amendment about?
Answers: 1-C, 2-B, 3-D, 4-D, 5-B, 6-A, 7-B, 8-D, 9-D, 10-A
About the Author
Jason W. Stevens is visiting assistant professor of political science and history at Ashland University and co-director of the Ashbrook Scholar Program at the Ashbrook Center. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.