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UK flag. The Bill of Rights, 1689

Annotated ver! the… Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation,… do… for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties declare That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal; That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;… That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal; That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all… prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal; That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law;… That election of members of Parliament ought to be free; That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament; That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;… And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening and preserving of the laws, Parliaments ought to be held frequently. And they do claim, demand and insist upon… their undoubted rights and liberties, and that no declarations, judgments, doings or proceedings to the prejudice of the people… ought in any wise to be drawn hereafter…

The Declaration of Independence, 1776

Annotated ver!
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; And such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government....

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;...

Flag of France.svg The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 1789 (excerpts in English)

from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 1789

Les Représentants du Peuple Français, constitués en Assemblée nationale, considérant que l’ignorance, l’oubli ou le mépris des droits de l’homme sont les seules causes des malheurs publics et de la corruption des Gouvernements...

The representatives of the people of France, formed into a National Assembly, considering that ignorance, neglect, or contempt of human rights, are the sole causes of public misfortunes and corruptions of Government, have resolved to set forth in a solemn declaration, these natural, imprescriptible, and inalienable rights: that this declaration being constantly present to the minds of the members of the body social, they may be for ever kept attentive to their rights and their duties ; that the acts of the legislative and executive powers of government, being capable of being every moment compared with the end of politi- cal institutions, may be more respected ; and also, that the future claims of the citizens, being directed by simple and incontestible principles, may always tend to the maintenance of the Constitution, and the general happiness.

For these reasons, the National Assembly doth recognise and declare, in the presence of the Supreme Being, and with the hope of his blessing and favour, the following sacred rights of men and of citizens:

I. Men are born, and always continue, free and equal in respect of their rights…

II. The end of all political associations, is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man ; and these rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance of oppression.

III. The nation is essentially the source of all sovereignty; nor can any individual, or any body of men, be entitled to any authority which is not expressly derived from it.

IV. Political liberty consists in the power of doing whatever does not injure another. The exercise of the natural rights of every man, has no other limits than those which are necessary to secure to every other man the free exercise of the same rights; and these limits are determinate only by the law.

V. The law ought to prohibit only actions hurtful to society. What is not prohibited by the law, should not be hindered - nor should any one be compelled to that which the law does not require.

VI. The law is an expression of the will of the community. All citizens have a right to concur, either personally, or by their representatives, in its formation. It should be the same to all, whether it protects or punishes; and all being equal in its sight, are equally eligible to all honours, places, and employments, according to their different abilities, without any other distinction than that created by their virtues and talents. 

VII. No man should be accused, arrested, or held in confinement, except in cases determined by the law, and according to the forms which it has prescribed….

IX. Every man being presumed innocent till he has been convicted, whenever his detention becomes indispensable, all rigour to him, more than is necessary to secure his person, ought to be provided against by the law.

X. No man ought to be molested on account of his opinions, not even on account of his religious opinions, provided his avowal of them does not disturb the public order established by the law.

XI. The unrestrained communication of… opinions being one of the most precious rights of man, every citizen may speak, write, and publish freely, provided he is responsible for the abuse of this liberty, in cases determined by the law.

The Constitution of the United States, 1789

 (USA:s grundlagens viktigaste delar, moderniserat)


We the People... make this Constitution grundlag...

I. All law-making Powers makt... shall ska be given to a Congress (en grupp som göra lagar, i Sverige: Riksdagen)  of the United States. It shall have two parts: a Senate and House of Representatives (de som vi väljer) ....

II. The Power to carry out the laws shall be given to a President....

III. Supreme Court Högsta Domstol.

IV. Citizens medbörjare  have rights rättigheter, even in other states.

V. Two thirds of the House and Senate can add Amendments tillägg to this Constitution, if three fourths of the States agree.

The Bill of Rights Rättighetsförklaring (1791)

1. Congress shall make no law about religion or speech or newspapers. (You can go to any church and say anything you want. Newspapers can write anything they want.)

2. The people can have guns.

4. The police can only search your home if a judge domare says it is OK.

6. The police cannot put you in prison fängelse unless you you have been judged domd  in a public trial by an objective jury (en opartisk grupp av vanliga människor, i Sverige: nämndemän).

8. No cruel and unusual punishment inga grymt eller ovanligt straff....

10. The powers not given to the United States by this Constitution belong to the States or the People.

Other important Amendments tillägg:

13. No slavery. (1865)

14 & 15. Former slaves have the same rights as everybody else. (1868, 1870)

16. ... Congress shall have the power to... collect taxes on incomes inkomstskatt... (1913)

19.  Women can vote. (1920)

24. Poor people can vote. (This stopped 5 states from making Blacks pay to vote.)(1964)

Original text, abridged

FkF Nov 1995
We the People… establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

1. All legislative Powers… shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

II. The executive Power shall be vested in a President…

III. The judicial Power… shall be vested in one supreme Court

IV. Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts… of every other State.  - - - - Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges… of Citizens in the several States.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion….

V. The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution… which… shall be valid… when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States…

The Bill of Rights
1 Congress shall make no law [about]… religion, or…  speech, or of the press….

2 …the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses… against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….

6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…

8. [No] cruel and unusual punishments….

10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution… are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Other important Amendments to the US Constitution:


13 [No] slavery… shall exist within the United States.


14 [Gives freed slaves civil rights]


15 [Gives freed slaves political rights]


16 …Congress shall have the power to… collect taxes on incomes….


19 The right to vote shall not be denied… on the account of sex.


24 [Gives poor blacks the right to vote.]