The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted in 1791 with the purpose of ensuring that a bubble of privacy would surround each and every American citizen. The main way that this is accomplished is by protecting citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. This allows us to be protected in the privacy of our papers, our houses, our effects, and our persons.
A research paper on the Fourth Amendment examines the following aspects of the Fourth Amendment:
- Origins and features of the Fourth Amendment
- The exclusionary rule thereto
- Discusses the pros and cons of the Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment provides a restraint on searches and seizures by agents of the government. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched or things to be seized" (U.S. Constitution. Amend. IV).
This amendment to our Constitution was drafted because the founding fathers of the United States were unhappy with the practice of 'general warrants'. General warrants allowed the king of England (or his representatives) extensive permission to search homes and businesses. These general warrants authorized the bearer to enter any house or other place to search for and seize prohibited and uncustomed goods. In this scenario, governmental agents were allowed to search private premises, without providing any specifics about the place to be searched or the things to be seized. This means that there were essentially no limits on what private building a governmental agent could search, or what he could look for and seize, providing he had one of these general warrants.
This concept was offensive to the founding fathers of the United States. Consequently, the Fourth Amendment was created so that in a post-colonial America, people would be free from unreasonable and unfounded searches and seizures.
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