Evolution of the Bill of Rights
A document-based teaching unit
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Students explore the stormy history of the Bill of Rights from the original Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776 to the states’ ratification of the first 10 amendments in 1791. The lessons cover the discussion regarding incorporation of a Bill of Rights at the Constitutional Convention, a role play of the Federalist and Antifederalist debates, and a Readers’ Theatre dramatizing the House debates. The unit is packed with documents and concludes with several later cases involving the application of principles embraced by the Bill of Rights.
Lesson 1: The Virginia and Pennsylvania Declarations of Rights
Extension Lesson: Declaration of Rights in the Thirteen Original States
Lesson 2: The Debate at the Constitutional Convention
Lesson 3: Federalist and the Antifederalist Perspectives on Inclusion of a Bill of Rights
Lesson 4: The House Debate
Lesson 5: Voices from the Past- Testing the Bill of Rights
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