“Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment VII – “The Right to Jury Trial in Civil Affairs”

Portrait of Joseph Story, the first Supreme Court Justice to write an opinion on the Seventh Amendment. Painted by George Peter Alexander Healy. (Cornell Law School - Legal Information Institute) Amendment Seven to the Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791. It protects the right for citizens to have a jury trial in federal courts … Continue reading “Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment VII – “The Right to Jury Trial in Civil Affairs”

“Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment VI – “The Rights of the Defendant”

Stanley Dersh citizenship poster recognizing the Sixth Amendment, 1959. (U.S. Government Publishing Office) Amendment Six to the Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791. It gives citizens a series of rights in criminal trials. They include the rights to a fast and public trial by an impartial jury, to be aware of the criminal charges, … Continue reading “Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment VI – “The Rights of the Defendant”

“Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment V – “Legal rights and Compensation”

Grand jury assembled for trial of Seattle-based bootlegger Roy Olmstead, 1926. (University of Washington Libraries) Amendment Five to the Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791. It provides several protections for American citizens, including protection from self-incrimination, guaranteed due process and equal protection before the law, access to grand jury trials, and financial compensation in … Continue reading “Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment V – “Legal rights and Compensation”

“Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment IV – “The Right to Privacy”

FBI COINTELPRO document revealing plan to illegally expose actress Jean Seberg's secret support for the Black Panther Party, 1970. (Public Domain) Amendment Four to the Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791. It protects the American people from unreasonable searches and seizures. The official text is written as such: “The right of the people to … Continue reading “Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment IV – “The Right to Privacy”

“Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment III – “Quartering of Troops”

Paul Revere's engraved illustration depicting the Boston Massacre, 1770. (Library of Congress) Amendment Three to the Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791. It forbids the housing of any military service member in private homes without the consent of the owner. The official wording is written as such: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace … Continue reading “Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment III – “Quartering of Troops”

“Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment II – “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms”

The Minute Man statue at the Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, Massachusetts. (National Park Service) Amendment Two to the Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791. It protects the right for Americans to possess weapons for the protection of themselves, their rights, and their property. The original text is written as such: “A … Continue reading “Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment II – “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms”

“Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment I – “The Freedom of Speech”

Stanley Dersh citizenship poster recognizing the First Amendment, 1959. (U.S. Government Publishing Office) Amendment One to the Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791. It is most commonly recognized for its protection of the freedom of speech, religion, the press, and making complaints and requests to the government. The official text of the amendment is … Continue reading “Constitutional Amendments” Series – Amendment I – “The Freedom of Speech”

New Blog Series: “Constitutional Amendments – Creating A More Perfect Union”

Stylized print poster of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, 1950 (Library of Congress) On behalf of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum, we are pleased to announce a new blog series for this season! Over the next few weeks, a collection of historical writings about the U.S. Constitution will be published … Continue reading New Blog Series: “Constitutional Amendments – Creating A More Perfect Union”

The History of Memorial Day

Illustration of Union veterans and local children decorating their fathers’ graves in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Decoration Day, 1876 (Library of Congress) Every year in the United States, Memorial Day calls for the public to remember and honor those who have fallen in the service of the Armed Forces. It is celebrated on the last Monday … Continue reading The History of Memorial Day

Legacy of the Voting Rights Act – New Challenges and Possibilities

Democratic members of Congress hosting a press conference calling for support of the For the People Act, 2021 (Public Domain) In 2013, a landmark Supreme Court decision altered a significant segment of the VRA. Shelby County v. Holder determined that Section 4b of the VRA - the coverage formula that determines how preclearance of voting … Continue reading Legacy of the Voting Rights Act – New Challenges and Possibilities