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Fourth Amendment Summary: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

If you know someone with a cell phone, than you'll want to learn about the Fourth Amendment! In this lesson, find out how the Fourth Amendment protects Americans' privacy and why it is important.

The Fourth Amendment

Chances are good that you know someone with a cell phone! Americans not only make calls and text on their phones, but search the internet, email and take photos and videos. Cell phones hold a lot of information!

But did you know that the Fourth Amendment, which was passed over 200 years ago, is still important today, especially when it comes to cell phones? The Fourth Amendment states that police officers cannot search a person's property without a likely reason that the person has committed a crime. The definition of ''property'' has widened over the past 200 years to include not only homes but cars, purses, clothing, computers and cell phones.

History

The Fourth Amendment was added to the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments, or additions, to the U.S. Constitution. The amendments were written by James Madison to make sure the government doesn't have too much power and to protect the freedom of U.S. citizens.

James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights.
James Madison

Writs of Assistance

How would you feel if the police could come into your home whenever they wanted, without a reason, and search it? This is what happened when Britain ruled America before the American Revolutionary War began in 1775.

The British claimed the right to go into people's homes without good reason. Officials had search warrants called Writs of Assistance that were papers saying they could go into a person's home or place of business. The warrants did not give a reason why the search was needed. If people didn't let officials in, their doors would be broken down. This made the people furious! After America gained its independence, the Founding Fathers, who were the men that organized the new country, decided that it was necessary to create a law that protected privacy.

The Bill of Rights
Bill of Rights

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