If I Wrote the Bill of Rights

At school, we did an assignment where we had to write our own version of the American Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution). It had to include exactly ten rights, a preamble, and thorough explanations for each individual right. I hope you enjoy taking a look at this.
Apr 8, 2020 · 6 pages

The Bill of Rights Written By a HighSchooler

The students of America’s modern highschool education facilities, with the goal of establishing a strong defense of the freedoms and privileges that are retained by citizens of this country, do hereby institute this here Bill of Rights.

Article 1

An individual citizen maintains the "exclusive right to possess, enjoy, and dispose of objects", as long as they are acquired through legal, ethical, and fair means. This includes, but is not limited to, a living space, tools, and consumables such as food and water. Living creatures that are not at risk, nor put others at risk, when in possession by the individual, can be considered property as long as they are not abused or unnecessarily exploited. Living creatures in this sense are defined as an animal or plant that is not human. Humans cannot be owned under any circumstances. An individual also maintains the right to allow others to borrow their property under whatever conditions they agree on. If an agreement is made and the borrowing party violates the agreement, they have mistreated the individual's property and may face comeuppance. However, if the borrowing party does not violate the agreement, it cannot be said that the individual's right to personal property has been violated, as they consented to the behavior or action displayed by the aforementioned party. Taking a piece of property from an individual without notification is not assumed to be agreement. Ownership of a piece of property may be transferred through sale of that property.


Article 2

An individual citizen has the right to access a safe internet. A safe internet is defined as one where the individual is "free from harm or risk" coming from sources not under their control or not known to the general public. An individual has the right to go to a website, complete their intended task, and leave "untouched, especially by anything that harms or diminishes" them. This is, of course, unrelated to the actions consciously and soberly taken by an individual, online or offline, and the consequences that follow. For example, an individual who abuses a living creature and suffers backlash through the internet in some form (such as media coverage portraying the action in a negative light, or rude/insulting comments sent to the individual by other internet users) cannot declare that their right to a safe internet has been violated. By committing such an action, the individual consents to the consequences associated with said action. This article refers instead to tracking, recording of web pages visited as well as actions taken while there, and inventory of personal information (including but not limited to: social security number, banking information, address, phone number), with the intent of using it in a harmful or demeaning way. Selling the private information of an individual collected from their use of the internet is completely illegal, whether in text, audio, or video format.


Article 3

An individual citizen has the right to create any piece of art. “Art” is defined as any object, whether physical, digital, or conceptual, that is made with“the conscious use of skill and creative imagination.”  Art can be in any form - text, image, video, audio, etcetera - and can be any genre, whether fictional or nonfictional in nature. Art is the intellectual property of an individual and will be treated as such. Use of art, just as with property, must have an agreement made out that states the conditions that must not be broken during its usage, and, of course, taking without asking is not agreement. A public domain and copyright system will be implemented to ensure that this article will be followed. When art is sold, the only right that does not belong to the new owner is the right to claim that they created the art. If an individual creates art that promotes the violation of human rights or laws, including rights outlined in this document, the individual will be held accountable by the law - not for simply creating art, but for using the tool of art as a weapon. (An example would be artwork promoting Nazism and therefore genocide of a human race.)


Article 4

An individual citizen has the right to participate in the general government and political scene regardless of any unrelated characteristics that the citizen may have. Unrelated characteristics are traits such as race, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, etcetera. Participation in government includes, but is not limited to: voting, applying for government positions, sharing political views through media, and attending gatherings related to politics. Prohibiting or discouraging other citizens from expressing political rights, whether through emotional or physical means, is illegal, unless the privilege has been lost as a consequence of a specific action. For example, prisoners are not allowed to use political rights.


Article 5

An individual citizen deserves to live in an area where there is easy access to safe food, water, and shelter. Legally recognized towns, cities, and other places of residence that fail to provide these basic necessities will face comeuppance and legal consequences. If a food desert is found, the local government is required to actively resolve the issue by either starting a community project (like a farmer’s market or community garden) or encourage a company that provides relevant services (such as a grocery store) to establish a location in the area. Clean, accessible water is vital to all individuals, and so an enormous effort must be made to give this opportunity to everyone. Maintained water foundations will be built in public, government-managed buildings, and places that sell food must also give free tap water and/or have a water fountain. Charging absurd amounts for water is against the law; the profit should be enough to keep the business running and to cover the cost of purification and bottling. Tap water will be maintained by the local government to ensure water entering homes and businesses is safe to drink and use. Long term rented shelters’ prices will not be out of line with the average income of the area it is located in. All long-term or public shelters must be solidly built and safe to live in. If a dwelling is not owned by an individual, it should have maintained, livable conditions that, when lived in, cannot be considered an abuse of those living there.


Article 6

An individual citizen has the right to secure, fair, safe, and legal employment. There will be an established minimum wage for all jobs (the lowest that can be paid per hour for labor and service) that ensures a livable income in the area in which they live. Relatively inexpensive areas to live in will have jobs paying relatively less (at minimum) and jobs in more expensive areas have a higher minimum wage to meet. Underpaying, as well as employee abuse of any kind, is illegal. Employees may be fired if and only if they perform their job inadequately and there is evident documentation supporting that idea. Laying off an employee without notice is considered an unfair act and the creation of insecure employment. An employee will need a certain amount of time to find another job to replace their old one, and thus need prior notification if they will be losing their job soon for a reason other than inadequate performance. Unfair work standards are not allowed. It is up to appointed overseers of companies, without biases or outside influences, to determine what is reasonable and what is abuse. If abuse is found, the managers of the job belonging to the abused employees may face comeuppance. The higher positions of authority may face consequences as well under the accusation of a failure to maintain a healthy workplace for its employees.


Article 7

An individual citizen will receive just punishment for any wrongdoing said citizens committed in their community. Punishment is “a penalty inflicted on an offender through judicial procedure” and thus cannot be given without due process of law. The judicial procedure will be fair and without bias or unnecessary influences to ensure adequate punishment is assigned. The outcome of the procedure will not be affected by any personal and irrelevant characteristic of an individual, such as race, religion, sex, etcetera. If after a judicial procedure the individual is found to not have committed wrongdoing, whether it be the were accused of committing or not, then, because they did no wrong, the equal punishment is none at all.


Article 8

An individual citizen has the right to accessible, affordable medical assistance. This medical assistance is “supplementary support or aid” that the individual is not able to provide for themself without illegal or unsafe action. There should be no unnecessary charges raising prices of goods and services that involve medical aid, especially in regards to life or death situations. The individual has the right to refuse medical goods and services offered or suggested to them, but as long as it is accessible to the individual, this article has been respected. Corporations that sells medications for profit should be heavily regulated to avoid the overpricing of drugs, especially those that help an individual live a regular life.


Article 9

An individual citizen has the right to hold whatever religious beliefs they choose, or none at all. They must accept the consequences of religious practice if their beliefs encourage harm toward others or illegal/ unlawful actions. Any such action will be investigated and put through the judicial procedure as if it were any other action. Places of gathering for religious communities are legal as long as there is no barrier to enter such a place besides regular legal barriers associated with the right to personal property. Beliefs may be shared by an individual in any format to whomever the individual has access to, whether online or offline. Respect and acknowledge of differing beliefs is expected. Bias in judicial procedure due to the accused’s religious beliefs or lack thereof is prohibited.


Article 10

An individual citizen may move wherever they please within the limits of the country’s territory. All movements must be completely legal and the individuals who plan to move must have proper documentation of their identity, history of movement, and other relevant information. A move may be made as long as the safety of the individual is not in jeopardy, there are no ill intentions towards others relevant to the move, and the individual is not trying to escape punishment of previous actions determined by a judicial procedure.


All quotes are taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary.