The U.S. Bill of Rights A decade after the United States declared its independence from Great Britain, it became apparent that the new nation needed more specific governing documents than the Articles of Confederation that were penned after the Revolutionary War. A Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787, to draft a new constitution and after three months of debate the U.S. Constitution was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates. The document wouldn’t become binding, however, until it had been ratified by nine of the 13 states.
By December, five states had ratified the document, but Massachusetts and several other states had reservations about it, citing its lack of specific protections for personal rights. A compromise was reached in February of 1788; Massachusetts and other opposing states would agree to ratify the Constitution if they could be assured that amendments would be made immediately. New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution on June 21, 1788, and the country began operating under the new law of the land on March 4, 1789.
The first Congress of the United States met later that year and on September 25, 1789, adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. This Bill of Rights sought to guarantee the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and exercise of religion; the right to fair legal procedure and to bear arms; and that powers not delegated to the federal government were reserved for the states and the people. When Virginia ratified 10 of the 12 original amendments on December 15, 1791, it provided the two-thirds majority vote among the states needed for the amendments to become law.
One of the two original amendments not ratified addressed the population system of determining representation and was never enacted. The second prevented laws that affect congressional salaries from taking effect until the beginning of the next session of Congress. This amendment was ratified in 1992, making it the 27th and most recent amendment to the Constitution — more than 200 years after the Bill of Rights became law.
The Bill of Rights
Amendment 1 — Freedom of speech, press and religion
Amendment 2 — The right to bear arms
Amendment 3 — Protection of homeowners from quartering troops, except during war.
Amendment 4 — Rights and protections against unreasonable search and seizure
Amendment 5 — Rights of due process of law, protection against double jeopardy, self incrimination
Amendment 7 — Rights to trial by jury in civil cases
Amendment 8 — Protection from cruel and unusual punishment, excessive bail
Amendment 9 — Protection of rights not specified in the Bill of Rights
Amendment 10 — States’ rights and the power of the states
The Bill of Rights protects our individual rights and forms the cornerstone to our freedoms. FRA encourages all citizens to take a moment to reflect upon the many blessings of liberty we enjoy.
Which of the original 10 amendments are the most important? Visit www.fra.org/history to share your views.
The original Bill of Rights is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Visit www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html to learn more.
Return to Table of Contents
News from the brancheS
BRANCH 126 Jacksonville, Florida
Then-RPSE Bobby Smith (far left) and Branch President J.J. Thomas (far right) initiated two new members, Henry Moreland and Herbert Pearce. Welcome, Shipmates! BRANCH 15 Walhalla, South carolina
Branch President Tom Jurkovich (center) and Shipmate Homer Moss (right) spoke with visitors to FRA’s information table during Octoberfest 2011 festivities. BRANCH 41 Roanoke, Virginia
Branch President Joe Black (left) congratulates Shipmate Billy Pugh on his 40 years of continuous FRA membership. BRANCH 202 Columbia, South carolina
Branch Treasurer Tommy Brown (left) received his 45-year continuous FRA membership pin from Branch President James Turner. Shipmate Brown is 91 years old and attends branch meetings regularly. He had three ships blown out from under him at Pearl Harbor and has been the branch treasurer for decades. BRANCH 118 Cape Coral, Florida
Shipmates Darrell, LaBarbera, Hope Hospice Volunteer Rosana Hutchison and Branch President Dick Phillips honored William Gallant (seated left), a veteran at the facility. He was joined by his friend Ray Malles (seated right). BRANCH 113 Stockton, California
Shipmate Daniel Crespo was recognized for his 50 years of continuous FRA membership by Branch President Zeb Motley. BRANCH 234 Anderson, South carolina
Following a presentation of $1,000 to the Electric City Young Marines Unit, (l to r) Shipmate Sanders, Branch President Franklin Collins, Shipmates Bill McGregor and Leon Boyd pose with the future Marines and their Unit Commander Stephen Graham. BRANCH 20 Groton, Connecticut
Shipmate Joseph Stoklosa, 95, received his 60-year FRA membership pin and certificate from RPNEng Phil Justin. Joe is the last surviving shipmate who signed the documents to purchase the Branch 20 Home. BRANCH 5 Norfolk, Virginia
PNP Tom Leisher (left) presents a 55-year continuous FRA membership pin to PRPEC Ralph Holcombe at a recent branch meeting. BRANCH 115 Allentown, Pennsylvania
FRA’s Director of Membership Development Penny Collins congratulates Shipmate Joseph S. Wright on his retirement from the U.S. Coast Guard. Wright received a Certificate of Appreciation from FRA’s East Coast Region. To submit a photo for News from the Branches, please e-mail a photo as an attachment in jpeg format to FRAToday@fra.org or mail a high-quality photograph to FRA Today, 125 N. West St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Please include a brief description of the photograph and include the names of those pictured. Laser prints and scanned copies of photographs cannot be accepted. Return to Table of Contents
All Icebreaker Muster
May 13–18, 2012, Amelia Island, Florida. Contact Louis Lariccia, 623-308-0093.
Marine Corps Aviation Recon Association (MCARA)
May 10–14, 2012, Nashville, Tennessee. Contact Dana Nachtrieb, 719-207-4399, email@example.com.
USS Alamo ( LSD-33 )
April 22–24, 2012, San Antonio, Texas. Contact Gary W. Moss, 5670 West Shore Drive, Pensacola, FL 32526, 850-944-3499, firstname.lastname@example.org.
USS Beatty (DD-756)
September 10–16, 2012, Portland, Maine. Contact Tom Accuosti, PO Box 805, Southbury, CT 06488, 203-592-8556, email@example.com.
USS Caiman (SS-323)
May 7–10, 2012, San Antonio, Texas. Contact Douglas W. Smith, 3835 B Maple Ave., Bremerton, WA 98310, 360-377-4763, firstname.lastname@example.org.
USS Diphda (AKA-59)
May 6–10, 2012, Tucson, Arizona. Contact Judy (Coogan) Bentley, 21632 N. Chipmunk Trail, Woodhaven, MI 48183, 734-675-0148, email@example.com.
USS Grenadier (SS 525, SS 210)
May 20–23, 2012, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Contact Reggie Thurlow, 1584 N Meadowcrest Blvd, Crystal River FL 34429, 800-418-9195, firstname.lastname@example.org.
USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2/LHD-7)
June 6–10, 2012, Mclean, Virginia. Contact Robert G. McAnally, 152 Frissell Street, Hampton, VA 23663, 757-723-0317, email@example.com.
USS New Jersey (BB-62)/USS New Jersey Veterans Organization
August 8–12, 2012, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Contact Ernest J. Dalton, 7143 Rolling Hills Lane, San Antonio, TX 78227, 210-275-7886, PS159@sbcglobal.net.
USS Robison (DDG 12)
September 6–9, 2012, Charleston, South Carolina. Contact Jim Saeugling, 11096 E Roundup Dr, Dewey, AZ 86327-5400, 928-775-0991, firstname.lastname@example.org.
USS Skate (SSN-578)
September 2–9, 2012, Norfolk, Virginia. Contact Ray Fritz, 5923 Lake Valley Road, Lake Wylie, SC 29710, 803-619-1121, RaysAbode@bellsouth.net.
USS Towers (DDG-9)
September 11–15, 2012, Boise, Idaho. Contact Bill Lobb, 3853 S. Carbondale, Meridian, Idaho 83642, 208-703-8367, email@example.com.
USS Whitehurst (DE-634)
October 9–11, 2012, Washington, D.C. Contact Jim Howe, 113 Meadow Dr, Chehalis WA 98532-9667, 360-740-4229, firstname.lastname@example.org.
USS/USCG Edisto Reunion
April 22–26, 2012, Indialantic Beach, Florida. Contact Glenn Smith, P.O. Box 747, Mims, FL 32754, 321-269-5637, email@example.com. Going to a reunion?
Reunions are a great place to promote FRA membership! Contact Outreach Manager Bob Washington at 1-800-FRA-1924 ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request a guest speaker or materials to distribute at the reunion. FRA can also provide you with talking points to speak on at the reunion about legislative issues that affect you and your shipmates.
Help your shipmates be informed and involved with what is happening on Capitol Hill by inviting them to visit the Action Center on www.fra.org and contact their elected officials. You can also offer a free subscription to NewsBytes, FRA’s weekly legislative email update. Anyone interested need only send their contact information to email@example.com with “subscribe” in the subject line. Members can post reunions online at www.fra.org, submit to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: FRA Reunions, 125 N. West St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Return to Table of Contents