Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. The amendment was adopted on August 18, 1920 as the culmination of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote, it overruled Minor v. Happersett, in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give women the right to vote. Since the 1860s, an increasing number of states had given women the right to vote, but several states still denied women the right to vote at the time the amendment was ratified; the Nineteenth Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator Aaron A. Sargent. Forty-one years in 1919, Congress submitted it to the states for ratification, it was ratified by three-fourths of the states a year with Tennessee's ratification being the last needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.
In Leser v. Garnett, the Supreme Court rejected claims that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted; the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation; the United States Constitution, adopted in 1789, left the boundaries of suffrage undefined. The only directly elected body created by the original Constitution was the House of Representatives, for which voter qualifications were explicitly delegated to the individual states. At that time, all states denied voting rights to women. While scattered movements and organizations dedicated to women's rights existed the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York is traditionally held as the start of the American women's rights movement. Suffrage was not a focus of the convention and its advancement was minimal in the decades preceding the Civil War. While suffrage bills were introduced into most state legislatures during this period, they were disregarded and few came to a vote.
The women's suffrage movement took hold during the Reconstruction era. During this period, women's rights leaders advocated for inclusion of universal suffrage as a civil right in the Reconstruction Amendments. Despite their efforts, these amendments did nothing to promote women's suffrage. Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly discriminated between men and women by penalizing states who deprived adult male citizens of the vote, but not for denying the vote to adult female citizens. In Minor v. Happersett, 88 U. S. 162, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not provide or protect a right to vote to women. Continued settlement of the western frontier, along with the establishment of territorial constitutions, allowed the issue to be raised continually at the state level. Through the activism of suffrage organizations and independent political parties, women's suffrage was established in the newly formed constitutions of Wyoming Territory and Washington Territory.
Existing state legislatures began to consider suffrage bills, several held voter referenda, but they were unsuccessful. Efforts at the national level persisted through a strategy of congressional testimony and lobbying. There were several attempts to amend the Constitution, prior to the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, to grant universal and limited suffrage to women. One of the attempts, the "Petition for Universal Suffrage", signed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, among others, called for a Constitutional amendment to "prohibit the several states from disenfranchising any of their citizens on the ground of sex" in 1865. In another attempt, an amendment proposed in the House of Representatives called for limited suffrage for women who were spinsters or widows and owned property in 1888. Two rival organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association, were formed in 1869; the NWSA, led by suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony, attempted several unsuccessful court challenges in the mid-1870s. Their legal case, known as the New Departure strategy, was that the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment together served to guarantee voting rights to women. Three Supreme Court decisions from 1873 to 1875 rejected this argument, so these groups shifted to advocating for a new constitutional amendment; the Nineteenth Amendment is identical to the Fifteenth Amendment, except that the Nineteenth prohibits the denial of suffrage because of sex and the Fifteenth because of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". Colloquially known as the "Anthony Amendment", it was first introduced in the Senate by Republican Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. Sargent, who had met and befriended Anthony on a train ride in 1872, was a dedicated women's suffrage advocate, he had attempted to insert women's suffrage provisions into unrelated bills, but did not formally introduce a constitutional amendment until January 1878.
Stanton and other women testified before the Senate in support of the amendment. The proposal sat in a committee until it was considered by the full Senate and rejected in a 16 to 34 vote in 1887. A three-decade period known as "the doldrums" followed, during which the amendment was not considered by Congress and the women's suffrage movement achieved f
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which respect an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights; the Bill of Rights was proposed to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. The First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Everson v. Board of Education, the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson's correspondence to call for "a wall of separation between church and State", though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute.
Speech rights were expanded in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing and school speech. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, is therefore subject to greater regulation; the Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota and New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in all cases; the Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has ruled that the amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. In 1776, the second year of the American Revolutionary War, the Virginia colonial legislature passed a Declaration of Rights that included the sentence "The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, can never be restrained but by despotic Governments." Eight of the other twelve states made similar pledges. However, these declarations were considered "mere admonitions to state legislatures", rather than enforceable provisions. After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring among other changes a stronger chief executive. George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, proposed that the Constitution include a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties.
Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked the implication that other, unnamed rights were unprotected. After a brief debate, Mason's proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. For the constitution to be ratified, nine of the thirteen states were required to approve it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification was based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights; the U. S. Constitution was ratified by all thirteen states. In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures' request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments, his proposed draft of the First Amendment read as follows: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.
The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments. The people shall not be restrained from peaceably consulting for their common good; this language was condensed by Congress, passed the House and Senate with no recorded debate, complicating future discussion of the Amendment's intent. The First Amendment, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, was submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, adopted on December 15, 1791. Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment and its restriction on the legislative branch of the federal government in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists: Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies between Ma
Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution sets a limit on the number of times an individual is eligible for election to the office of President of the United States, sets additional eligibility conditions for presidents who succeed to the unexpired terms of their predecessors. Prior to the ratification of the amendment, the president had not been subject to term limits, but George Washington had established a two-term tradition that many other presidents had followed. In the 1940 presidential election, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to win a third term, giving rise to concerns about the potential issues involved with a president serving an unlimited number of terms. Congress approved the Twenty-second Amendment on March 24, 1947, submitted it to the state legislatures for ratification; that process was completed on February 27, 1951, after the amendment had been ratified by the requisite 36 of the then-48 states, its provisions came into force on that date.
The amendment prohibits any individual, elected president twice from being elected again. Under the amendment, an individual who fills an unexpired presidential term lasting greater than two years is prohibited from winning election as president more than once. Scholars debate whether the amendment prohibits affected individuals from succeeding to the presidency under any circumstances or whether it only applies to presidential elections. Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once, but this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
Section 2. This Article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress. Notwithstanding that the Twenty-second Amendment was a reaction to Franklin D. Roosevelt's election to an unprecedented four terms as president, the notion of presidential term limits has long been debated in American politics. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 considered the issue extensively. Many—including Alexander Hamilton and James Madison—supported a lifetime appointment for presidents, while others favored fixed terms appointments. Virginia's George Mason denounced the life-tenure proposal as tantamount to establishment of an elective monarchy. An early draft of the United States Constitution provided that the President was restricted to a single seven-year term; the Framers approved four-year terms with no restriction on the amount of time a person could serve as president.
Though dismissed by the Constitutional Convention, the concept of term limits for U. S. presidents took hold during the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson. As his second term entered its final year in 1796, George Washington was exhausted from years of public service, his health had begun to decline, he was bothered by the unrelenting attacks from his political opponents, which had escalated after the signing of the Jay Treaty, believed that he had accomplished his major goals as president. For these reasons, he decided not to stand for reelection to a third term, a decision he announced to the nation through a Farewell Address in September 1796. Eleven years as Thomas Jefferson neared the half-way point of his second term, he wrote, If some termination to the services of the chief magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice, his office, nominally for years, will in fact, become for life. Since Washington made his historic announcement, numerous academics and public figures have looked at his decision to retire after two terms, have, according to political scientist Bruce Peabody, "argued he had established a two-term tradition that served as a vital check against any one person, or the presidency as a whole, accumulating too much power".
Numerous amendments aimed toward changing informal precedent into constitutional law were proposed in Congress during the early to mid-19th century, but none passed. Three of the next four presidents after Jefferson—James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson—served two terms, each one adhered to the two-term principle. Before the Civil War the seceding States drafted the Constitution of the Confederate States of America which in most respects was similar to the United States Constitution, but one change was limiting the President to a single six-year term. In spite of the strong two-term tradition, a few presidents prior to Franklin Roosevelt did attempt to secure a third term. Following Ulysses S. Grant's reelection victory in 1872, there were serious discussions within Republican political circles about the possibility of his running again in 1876. Interest in a third term for Grant evaporated however, in the light of negative public opinion and opposition fro
Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution established the prohibition of "intoxicating liquors" in the United States. The amendment was proposed by Congress on December 18, 1917, was ratified by the requisite number of states on January 16, 1919; the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment on December 5, 1933. The Eighteenth Amendment was the product of decades of efforts by the temperance movement, which held that a ban on the sale of alcohol would ameliorate poverty and other societal issues; the Eighteenth Amendment declared the production and sale of intoxicating liquors illegal, though it did not outlaw the actual consumption of alcohol. Shortly after the amendment was ratified, Congress passed the Volstead Act to provide for the federal enforcement of Prohibition; the Volstead Act declared that liquor and beer all qualified as intoxicating liquors and were therefore prohibited. Under the terms of the Eighteenth Amendment, Prohibition began on January 17, 1920, one year after the amendment was ratified.
Although the Eighteenth Amendment led to a decline in alcohol consumption in the United States, nationwide enforcement of Prohibition proved difficult in cities. Organized crime and other groups engaged in large-scale bootlegging, speakeasies became popular in many areas. Public sentiment began to turn against Prohibition during the 1920s, 1932 Democratic presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt called for the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment in his platform; the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment in 1933, making the Eighteenth Amendment the only amendment to the U. S. Constitution to be repealed in its entirety. Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all the territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. Section 2; the Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress; the Eighteenth Amendment was the result of decades of effort by the temperance movement in the United States and at the time was considered a progressive amendment. Starting in 1906, the Anti-Saloon League began leading a campaign to ban the sale of alcohol on a state level, they led speeches and public demonstrations, claiming that banning the sale of alcohol would get rid of poverty and social issues, such as immoral behavior and violence. It would inspire new forms of sociability between men and women and they believed that families would be happier, fewer industrial mistakes would be made and overall, the world would be a better place. Other groups such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union began as well trying to ban the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.
A well-known reformer during this time period was Carrie Amelia Moore Nation, whose violent actions made her a household name across America. Many state legislatures had enacted statewide prohibition prior to the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment but did not ban the consumption of alcohol in most households, it took some states longer than others to ratify this amendment northern states, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts. They violated the law by still allowing some beers to be sold. By 1916, 23 of 48 states had passed laws against saloons, some banning the manufacture of alcohol in the first place; the Temperance Movement was dedicated to the complete abstinence of alcohol from public life. The movement began in the early 1800s within Christian churches, was religiously motivated; the central areas the group was founded out of were in the Saratoga area of New York, as well as in Massachusetts. Churches were highly influential in gaining new members and support, garnering 6,000 local societies in several different states.
A group, inspired by the movement was the Anti-Saloon league, who at the turn of the 20th century began lobbying for prohibition in the United States. The group was founded in 1893 in the state of Ohio, gaining massive support from Evangelical Protestants, to becoming a national organization in 1895; the group was successful in helping implement prohibition, through heavy lobbying and having a vast influence. The group following repeal of prohibition fell out of power and in 1950 merged with other groups forming the National Temperance League. On August 1, 1917, the Senate passed a resolution containing the language of the amendment to be presented to the states for ratification; the vote was 65 to 20, with the Democrats voting 12 in opposition. The House of Representatives passed a revised resolution on December 17, 1917; this was the first amendment to impose a date by which it had to be ratified or else the amendment would be discarded. In the House, the vote was 282 to 128, with the Democrats voting 64 in opposition.
Four Independents in the House voted in two Independents cast votes against the amendment. It was proposed by the Congress to the states when the Senate passed the resolution, by a vote of 47 to 8, the next day, December 18; the amendment and its enabling legislati
Timeline of drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution
The drafting of the Constitution of the United States began on May 25, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met for the first time with a quorum at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to revise the Articles of Confederation, ended on September 17, 1787, the day the Constitution drafted by the convention's delegates to replace the Articles was adopted and signed. The ratification process for the Constitution began that day, ended when the final state, Rhode Island, ratified it on May 29, 1790. In addition to key events during the Constitutional Convention and afterward while the Constitution was before the states for their ratification, this timeline includes important events that occurred during the run-up to the convention and during the nation's transition from government under the Articles of Confederation to government under the Constitution, concludes with the unique ratification vote of Vermont, which at the time was a sovereign state outside the Union; the time span covered is 5 years, 9 months, from March 25, 1785 to January 10, 1791.
March 25 • Maryland–Virginia conference convenes Initially scheduled to assemble in Alexandria, Virginia on March 21, delegates representing the states of Maryland and Virginia gather at Mount Vernon, the Fairfax County home of George Washington, to address navigational rights in the states' common waterways. Attending what became known as the Mount Vernon Conference were: Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Thomas Stone, Samuel Chase, from Maryland. March 28 • Maryland–Virginia conference concludes Delegates approve a thirteen-point agreement known as the Mount Vernon Compact, regulating commerce and navigation in the waters of the Potomac and Pocomoke Rivers, Chesapeake Bay; the agreement was subsequently ratified by both the Virginia and Maryland General Assemblies, becoming the nation's first interstate compact. January 21 • Conference to address certain defects of the federal government called Virginia General Assembly calls for an interstate convention for the purpose of discussing and developing a consensus about reversing the protectionist trade and commerce barriers existing between the various states.
September 11 • Annapolis Convention convenes Delegates representing Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Virginia meet at George Mann's Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland to discuss ways to facilitate commerce between the states and establish standard rules and regulations. Appointed delegates from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island either arrived too late to participate or otherwise did not attend. Four states: Connecticut, Georgia and South Carolina, did not appoint delegates. September 14 • Annapolis Convention adjourns The convention report, sent to Congress and the legislatures of the various states, contains a request that another convention be held the following May at Philadelphia to discuss amending the Articles of Confederation. November 23 • New Jersey elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. David Brearley, Jonathan Dayton, William Houston, William Livingston, William Paterson will attend. December 4 • Virginia elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention.
John Blair Jr. James Madison, George Mason, James McClurg, Edmund Randolph, George Washington, George Wythe will attend. December 30 • Pennsylvania elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. George Clymer, Thomas FitzSimons, Benjamin Franklin, Jared Ingersoll, Thomas Mifflin, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, James Wilson will attend. January 6 • North Carolina elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. William Blount, William Richardson Davie, Alexander Martin, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Hugh Williamson will attend. January 17 • New Hampshire elects delegates to the proposed Philadelphia Convention. Nicholas Gilman and John Langdon will attend. February 3 • Delaware elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. Richard Bassett, Gunning Bedford, Jr. Jacob Broom, John Dickinson, George Read will attend. February 10 • Georgia elects delegates to the proposed constitutional convention. Abraham Baldwin, William Few, William Houstoun, William Pierce will attend.
February 21 • Convention to discuss revisions to the Articles of Confederation called The Congress of the Confederation calls a constitutional convention "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein and when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the States render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union". March 3 • Massachusetts elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention. Elbridge Gerry, Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King, Caleb Strong will attend. March 6 • New York elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention. Alexander Hamilton, John Lansing, Jr. and Robert Yates will attend. March 8 • South Carolina elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention. Pierce Butler, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, John Rutledge will attend. April 23 • Maryland elects delegates to the upcoming constitutional convention.
Daniel Carroll, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, Luther Martin, James McHenry, John Mercer will attend. May 5 • A motion to send delegates to the constitutional convention fails in the Rhode Island General Assembly. May 14 • Constitutional Convention scheduled to begin As only a small number of delegates have arrived in Philadelphia, the convention's opening meeting is postponed for lack of a quorum. May 14 • Connecticut elects delegates to the constitutional convention. Oliver Ellsworth, William
Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution moved the beginning and ending of the terms of the president and vice president from March 4 to January 20, of members of Congress from March 4 to January 3. It has provisions that determine what is to be done when there is no president-elect; the Twentieth Amendment was adopted on January 23, 1933. The amendment was designed to limit the "lame duck" period, the period served by Congress and the president after an election but before the end of the terms of those who were not re-elected. Indirectly, the amendment requires the incoming Congress, rather than the outgoing Congress, to hold a contingent election in the event that no individual wins a majority of the electoral vote in a presidential election; the amendment establishes procedures in the case that a president-elect dies, is not chosen, or otherwise fails to qualify prior to the start of a new presidential term. Section 1; the terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified.
Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day. Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified. Section 4; the Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them. Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission. Article I, Section 4, Clause 2 of the Constitution states that Congress must meet at least once per year, on the first Monday in December, though Congress could by law set another date and the president could summon special sessions; the original text of the Constitution set a duration for the terms of federal elected officials, but not the specific dates on which those terms would begin or end. In September 1788, after the necessary nine states had ratified the Constitution, the Congress of the Confederation set March 4, 1789, as the date "for commencing proceedings" of the newly reorganized government. Despite the fact that the new Congress and presidential administration did not begin operation until April, March 4 was deemed to be the beginning of the newly elected officials' terms of office, thus of the terms of their successors.
The Constitution did not specify a date for federal elections, but by the time of the second presidential election in 1792, Congress had passed a law requiring presidential electors to be chosen during November or early December. By 1845, this was narrowed in early November. Congressional elections were held on the same day; the result of these scheduling decisions was that there was a long, four-month lame duck period between the election and inauguration of the president. For Congress, the situation was even more awkward; because Article I, Section 4, Clause 2 mandated a Congressional meeting every December, after the election but before Congressional terms of office had expired, a lame duck session was required by the Constitution in even-numbered years. Special sessions sometimes met earlier in the year, but this never became a regular practice, despite the Constitution allowing for it. In practice, Congress met in a long session beginning in Decembers of odd-numbered years, in a short lame duck session in December of even-numbered years.
The long lame duck period might have been a practical necessity at the end of the 18th century, when any newly elected official might require several months to put his affairs in order and undertake an arduous journey from his home to the national capital, but it had the effect of impeding the functioning of government in the modern age. From the early 19th century onward, it meant that a lame duck Congress and presidential administration would fail to adequately respond to a significant national crisis in a timely manner; each institution could do this on the theory that at best, a lame duck Congress or administration had neither the time nor the mandate to tackle problems, whereas the incoming administration or Congress would have both the time, a fresh electoral mandate, to examine and address the problems that the nation faced. These problems likely would have been at the cente
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. It prohibits unreasonable seizures. In addition, it sets requirements for issuing warrants: warrants must be issued by a judge or magistrate, justified by probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, must describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Fourth Amendment case law deals with three main issues: what government activities are "searches" and "seizures," what constitutes probable cause to conduct searches and seizures, how violations of Fourth Amendment rights should be addressed. Early court decisions limited the amendment's scope to physical intrusion of property or persons, but with Katz v. United States, the Supreme Court held that its protections extend to intrusions on the privacy of individuals as well as to physical locations. A warrant is needed for most search and seizure activities, but the Court has carved out a series of exceptions for consent searches, motor vehicle searches, evidence in plain view, exigent circumstances, border searches, other situations.
The exclusionary rule is one way. Established in Weeks v. United States, this rule holds that evidence obtained as a result of a Fourth Amendment violation is inadmissible at criminal trials. Evidence discovered as a result of an illegal search may be inadmissible as "fruit of the poisonous tree", unless it would have been discovered by legal means; the Fourth Amendment was adopted in response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, a type of general search warrant issued by the British government, a major source of tension in pre-Revolutionary America. The Fourth Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1789 by James Madison, along with the other amendments in the Bill of Rights, in response to Anti-Federalist objections to the new Constitution. Congress submitted the amendment to the states on September 28, 1789. By December 15, 1791, the necessary three-fourths of the states had ratified it. On March 1, 1792, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson announced that it was part of the Constitution.
Because the Bill of Rights did not apply to state or local governments, federal criminal investigations were less common in the first century of the nation's history, there is little significant case law for the Fourth Amendment before the 20th century. The amendment was held to apply to state and local governments in Mapp v. Ohio via the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, describing the place to be searched, the persons or things to be seized. Like many other areas of American law, the Fourth Amendment finds its roots in English legal doctrine. In Semayne's case, Sir Edward Coke famously stated: "The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose." Semayne's Case acknowledged that the King did not have unbridled authority to intrude on his subjects' dwellings, but recognized that government agents were permitted to conduct searches and seizures under certain conditions when their purpose was lawful and a warrant had been obtained.
The 1760s saw a growth in the intensity of litigation against state officers, using general warrants, conducted raids in search of materials relating to John Wilkes's publications attacking both government policies and the King himself. The most famous of these cases involved John Entick, whose home was forcibly entered by the King's Messenger Nathan Carrington, along with others, pursuant to a warrant issued by George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax authorizing them "to make strict and diligent search for... the author, or one concerned in the writing of several weekly seditious papers entitled,'The Monitor or British Freeholder, No 257, 357, 358, 360, 373, 376, 378, 380,'" and seized printed charts and other materials. Entick filed suit in Entick v Carrington, argued before the Court of King's Bench in 1765. Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden ruled that both the search and the seizure were unlawful, as the warrant authorized the seizure of all of Entick's papers—not just the criminal ones—and as the warrant lacked probable cause to justify the search.
By holding that "ur law holds the property of every man so sacred, that no man can set his foot upon his neighbour's close without his leave", Entick established the English precedent that the executive is limited in intruding on private property by common law. Homes in Colonial America, on the other hand, did not enjoy the same sanctity as their British counterparts, because legislation had been explicitly written so as to enable enforcement of British revenue-gathering policies on customs. During what scholar William Cuddihy called the "colonial epidemic of general searches", the authorities possessed unlimited power to search for anything at any time, with little oversight. In 1756, the colony of Massachusetts barred the use of general warrants; this represented the first law in American history curtailing the use of seizure power. Its creation stemmed from the great public outcry over the Excise Act of 1754, which gave tax collectors unlimited powers to interrogate colonists concerning their use of goods subject to customs.
The act permitted the use of a general warrant known as a writ of assistance, allowing tax collectors to search the hom