Constitutional Law

The U.S. Constitution

How many constitutional amendments have been enacted?

There have been only 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution in over two centuries. The first ten amendments were added only four years after the ratification of the Constitution. These ten amendments are collectively known as “the Bill of Rights.” The next amendments were added at various times in the nation’s history.

The Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

Amendment Issue Addressed
1st Amendment Freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition
2nd Amendment Right to bear arms
3rd Amendment No quartering of troops in private homes
4th Amendment No unreasonable searches and seizures
5th Amendment Right to grand jury, no double jeopardy, freedom from self-incrimination, due process and just compensation
6th Amendment Speedy trial, public trial, notice of charges, compulsory process, confrontation clause and assistance of counsel
7th Amendment Right to jury trials in civil cases
8th Amendment No excessive bail, fines or cruel and unusual punishment
9th Amendment Asserts unenumerated (nonlisted) rights; that is, that the Bill of Rights provides individual rights beyond those listed in the first eight amendments (e.g., right to privacy)
10th Amendment Affirms a basic principle of federalism, that power is divided between federal and state governments; reserves powers to the states
11th Amendment Asserts state sovereign immunity, which shields states from many lawsuits
12th Amendment President and vice president must be from same political party
13th Amendment Outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude
14th Amendment Citizenship, rights of equal protection and due process
15th Amendment Right to vote
16th Amendment Income tax
17th Amendment Popular election of senators
18th Amendment Prohibition of alcohol
19th Amendment Right of women to vote
20th Amendment Date of presidential swearing-in; solves lame-duck problem
21st Amendment Repeals the Eighteenth Amendment; no Prohibition
22nd Amendment Limits presidents to two full terms (eight years)
23rd Amendment District of Columbia; voting for president
24th Amendment No poll tax
25th Amendment Line of succession upon president’s death
26th Amendment Voting age becomes 18
27th Amendment Congressional pay raises


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