Essay about The First 10 Amendments

1. Using the following link (and related links on the same web site) or another source of your choice, read through the entire Bill of Rights (, and choose ONE PART of any of the first 10 Amendments (the Bill of Rights) to be your topic (preferably one you’re interested in). To reiterate: do NOT choose an entire Amendment, since this will be too much for a 6-page paper; limit your essay to the specific part of whichever Amendment you select and/or to which your court case (see below) relates.

2. Locate/research ONE recent court case (i.e., adjudicated in some way within the last 10 years) relating to how someone or a group of people were denied their rights under your topic amendment. This court case can be a lawsuit filed but not yet settled, one that went to court and failed, or a successful challenge to a previous interpretation of the amendment/portion in question. You may briefly refer to previous/older cases as precedents, but must focus on the specifics of your recent case.

NOTE: MAKE SURE THERE IS NO PLAGIARISM, and during your initial research, please do not get confused by a certain definition used as a nickname for two amendments, namely the “due process clause”: the original “due process clause” is part of the 5th Amendment, relating to citizens’ jury and trial rights, once arrested by the police/gov’t. However, the 14th Amendment also has a “due process clause” relating to how the federal gov’t can apply the Bill of Rights to state laws (chiefly in civil-rights cases), which has nothing to do with jury trials. If you search for “due process” cases, therefore, make sure the case you pick relates to the 5th Amendment’s clause, not the 14th Amendment’s similarly named clause.

3. In your paper text (body/main part of the essay), analyze both sides of the case — you’re welcome to show indicate your preference/opinion, but reviewing both sides demonstrates your academic professionalism and intellectual integrity. In your essay’s conclusion, describe why you value your topic/amendment, and how it is relevant to modern American society & culture, using the example you researched. Assume the reader knows what the Bill of Rights is (i.e., do not waste space discussing all the other amendments in the Bill of Rights), and focus on your chosen amendment or the specific relevant part (for example, you don’t have to find examples for every part of, say, the First Amendment, if you’ve chosen freedom of the press — just focus on the freedom of the press and give a court-case illustration of it).

4. You must include numbered citations at the end of each sentence or paragraph where you cite and/or quote specific words, concepts or statistics, in CMS format ( for both footnotes/endnotes (your choice) and your separate-page bibliography. This is a formal academic paper, so do not use non-credible sources (like, etc.)!

5. Since the Constitution and Bill of Rights are public-domain documents, you do NOT need to cite the text of any Amendment or of the Constitution itself.

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