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The Bill of Rights

A History in Documents

John J. Patrick

Publication Date - January 2003

ISBN: 9780195103540

208 pages
8 x 10 inches

In Stock

An engaging history of the rights that are fundamental to American life


The Bill of Rights is an extraordinary collection of original documents, carefully introduced and put into context by historian John Patrick, that traces the origins of the Bill of Rights back to England's Magna Carta and its legal traditions through to present day controversies over freedoms of speech, religion, bearing arms, assembling, and more. Examples of challenges to the Bill of Rights include:

* The Sedition Act of 1798, which made it illegal to express criticism of the U.S. government
* The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II * George W. Bush's Executive Order of November 13, 2001, expanding the government's authority against individuals when terrorism is suspected.


  • An extraordinary collection of original documents carefully introduced and put into context that traces the origins of the Bill of Rights
  • A mixture of textual and visual documents build a textured history
  • Documents are the ideal length for classroom discussion

About the Author(s)

John J. Patrick is Professor of Education in the School of Education at Indiana University. He is also Director of the Social Studies Development Center and Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education at Indiana University. Professor Patrick is the author or co-author of many publications on civic education, history education, and political ideas. Among his recent publications are The Oxford Guide to the U.S. Government (Oxford, 2001) and The Supreme Court of the United States: A Student Companion (Oxford, 2001).


"Illuminating." -- American Reference Book Annual

"The Bill of Rights: A History in Documents depicts the fight to defend civil liberties and examines through history the triumphs of the Bill of Rights....A detailed account of the history and differences this document has brought about." --NEA Today

Table of Contents

    What is a Document?
    How to Read a Document

    Chapter One: The Roots of American Rights

    Transporting Rights to the American Colonies
    New Charters of Rights
    A New Philosophy of Rights

    Chapter Two: Rights and Revolution in America

    American Protests
    Resolutions in Defense of Rights
    The Declaration of Independence

    Chapter Three: The Birth of the Bill of Rights

    Rights in the New American States
    Rights in the U.S. Constitution
    Constitutional Amendments

    Chapter Four: The Bill of Rights Marginalized

    The Sedition Act Controversy
    Landmark Opinions of Chief Justice Marshall
    Contradiction of Ideals
    The Dred Scott Case

    Chapter Five: Rights Renewed and Denied

    Rights Proclaimed and Restricted
    Rights Denied to Women
    Rights Denied to African Americans

    Chapter Six: A Resurgence of Rights

    Freedom and National Security during World War I
    The Incorporation Doctrine
    Issues of Freedom during World War II

    Chapter Seven: nationalization of the Bill of Rights

    Standards for Using the Incorporation Doctrine
    Equal Protection of the Laws
    National Standards on Rights of the Accused

    Chapter Eight: Picture Essay: Political Cartoons on the Right to Bear Arms

    Chapter Nine: Consensus and Controversy

    The Rights to Privacy and Abortion
    Limits to Freedom of Expression
    The Government and Religion
    An American heritage

    Text Credits
    Picture Credits

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