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The Constitution
Guide: Bill of Rights

These resources help explain why the Bill of Rights was added to the U.S. Constitution. Use these resources to help students understand the debates that arose over whether it was necessary to add the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • Societies need government to promote harmony, reduce conflict, and increase economic productivity
  • Governments come in many forms, including rule by one, rule by a few, and rule by many
  • Philosophical thought often influences a society's form of government
  • New political systems are shaped by emulating and opposing older systems of government
  • Founding documents are a result of compromise and the direct experiences of those drafting them
  • Democratic governments derive their power from the consent of the governed
  • Protection of individual rights and liberties is central to American democracy
  • Democratic governments strike a balance between majority rule and minority rights

Key Questions

  • How does the Bill of Rights specifically reflect Enlightenment thinking regarding natural rights and the mistreatment of the colonist by the British?
  • The Bill of Rights initially only applied to federal law and was later incorporated to apply to state law. Why do you think the Framers didn't indicate that the Bill of Rights applied to the states? Should they have? Why or why not?

Resources

  1. Overview: Bill of Rights
  2. Visuals: Bill of Rights (Visual)
  3. Outline: Outline
  4. Transcript: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-Creation of the Bill of Rights
  7. Lesson: 2-Contents of the Bill of Rights
  8. Lesson: 3-Ratifying the Bill of Rights
  9. Lesson: 4-The Bill of Rights and the States
  10. Lesson: Closing
  11. Reference Articles: colonial charters
  12. Reference Articles: Federalist Party
  13. Reference Articles: individual freedom
  14. Reference Articles: Anti-Federalists
  15. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Bill of Rights (1791)
  16. Political, Government & Court Documents: English Bill of Rights (1689)
  17. Political, Government & Court Documents: Magna Carta (1215)
  18. Political, Government & Court Documents: Bill of Rights (1791)
  19. Letters & Narratives: Lee, Richard Henry: Letters from a Federal Farmer (1787)

MLA Citation

"Bill of Rights." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2156132?cid=256. Accessed 20 Sept. 2019.

Entry ID: 2156132

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