7th Amendment: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

The 7th Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, which is made up of the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution. Come explore the 7th Amendment, what it's all about, and why it's important.

What is the 7th Amendment?

You might know that if someone is arrested for a crime, like robbery, they may have a trial in court. A group of people called a jury hear the facts and decide whether that person is guilty or not guilty. Their decision can even decide if the robber goes to jail. But criminals aren't the only ones who have the right to a trial by jury.

Imagine getting a scooter for your birthday that can do all kinds of tricks. A friend asks if they can try it but when they get on, they take off too fast and crash it into a tree. It's completely broken and doesn't work anymore, so you ask them to replace it, but they don't want to.

If you were an adult and this was a car crash, the 7th Amendment says you can take them to federal court, and have a jury decide if they are guilty and how much they have to pay, even though they aren't a criminal.

The 7th Amendment to the US Constitution says that civil cases, or lawsuits based on disagreements between people or businesses, have a right to be decided by a jury in federal court. The amount of the lawsuit must be more than $20, and after a jury settles the case, it shouldn't go back to trial again.

When the 7th Amendment was approved in December 1791, $20 dollars was a huge amount of money. Federal courts today won't hear a case if the lawsuit is less than $75,000.

Why was the 7th Amendment Added to the Constitution?

After the Revolutionary War, when the Constitution was written, the Bill of Rights was added to protect the freedoms and rights of the people. The Bill of Rights is made up of the first 10 amendments (changes or additions) to the Constitution.

Bill of Rights
Bill of Rights

James Madison, who became the 4th president, wrote the 7th Amendment. He did this because people were worried that judges would have too much power and wouldn't always be fair if they were the only ones making decisions in legal cases. Many felt like juries would protect the people from bad laws and be fairer when deciding a case.

James Madison
James Madison

Examples of Civil Cases

Some kinds of civil cases that the 7th Amendment says juries can decide include:

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