Bill of Rights Day

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, which commemorates the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

These two eBooks, created by us at the National Archives, are useful for teaching about the creation of the Bill of Rights and for how the protections afforded by the first 10 amendments have been put to the test over the course of our nation’s history.

Putting the Bill of Rights to the Test

Putting the Bill of Rights to the TestThis student workbook helps students explore some of the core concepts, or protections, found in the Bill of Rights, and how they’ve been tested throughout American history.

  • iTunes – Download with iBooks on your iPad, iPhone, or Mac; and with iTunes on your computer.
  • ePub File (20.5MB) – This standard eBook format works with eBook apps on your phone or tablet, your eReader device, or with an ePub reader for your computer or web browser.
  • PDF File (9.5MB) – View the PDF on your computer or mobile device, or print it out for students. This version includes blank spaces for student responses.

Each chapter leads students to consider the implications of one core concept and includes:

  • Background Information
  • A key question or questions to frame students’ thinking
  • Questions to help them analyze the document
  • A primary source document or documents
  • Discussion questions to help students consider the impact or importance of the concept

Concepts covered include:

  • No Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof (First Amendment)
  • Freedom of Speech (First Amendment)
  • Freedom of the Press (First Amendment)
  • Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble (First Amendment)
  • Right to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances (First Amendment)
  • Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms (Second Amendment)
  • Unreasonable Searches and Seizures (Fourth Amendment)
  • Deprived of Life, Liberty, or Property, Without Due Process (Fifth Amendment)
  • The Right to Counsel (Sixth Amendment)
  • Cruel and Unusual Punishments (Eighth Amendment)

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights eBook

Within the half-billion pages of records in the care of the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives, there are some special treasures from the First Congress that show how the ratification of the Constitution necessitated the creation of the Bill of Rights, and how the creation of the Bill of Rights, in turn, completed the Constitution.

This eBook focuses on James Madison’s leadership role in creating the Bill of Rights, effectively completing the U.S. Constitution. Starting with the crises facing the nation in the 1780s, the narrative traces the call for constitutional amendments from the state ratification conventions. Through close examination of the featured document, Senate Revisions to the House Proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the reader goes inside the First Congress, as Madison and the leaders of rival political factions worked in the House and Senate to formulate amendments to change the recently ratified Constitution.

The eBook is available for download on our website  and available in iTunes for your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac. The book is accompanied by a mobile app (for the iPad and for Android devices) and online resources for teachers and students.

For more information on events and resources at the  National Archives, visit our Bill of Rights Day website.

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