The American Founding: The Bill of Rights

This comprehensive, multimedia online exhibit at the Ashbrook Center’s teachingamericanhistory.org features a trove of resources on the Bill of Rights. Part I contains the English, Colonial, State, and Continental origins of the Bill of Rights; Part II features the Federalist/Antifederalist Debate over the Bill of Rights; and Part III explains the politics of the Bill of Rights in the First Congress through its adoption. Another section demonstrates, using artwork, how the idea of rights has changed throughout American history. And an interactive chart shows the origins of each of the rights in the Bill of Rights.

Picture Books and the Bill of Rights

Try these new videos for teachers and students from the Bill of Rights Institute. The three- to six-minute videos cover key Supreme Court cases, AP U.S. History prep and economic trends throughout U.S. history. A new video is released each Tuesday. Learn more here.

James Madison and the Bill of Rights

This short video traces the evolution of James Madison’s thinking about the necessity of a Bill of Rights.  While originally opposed to both a bill of rights and conditional ratification, Madison came to appreciate the political and the practical efficacy of both.  Professor Jack Rakove notes that, unlike many bills of rights that use the phrase “the government ought not,” the American Bill of Rights says “the government shall not,” thus creating a set of legal commands to limit government. This is one in a series of Constitutional Conversations from the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation.

For a complete list of Bill of Rights resources, go here.

News in the Network

  • Bill of Rights Institute: Applications open for its summer Constitutional Academy for students. Learn more here.
  • Bill of Rights Institute: Applications open for its summer Founders Fellowship program for teachers. Learn more here.
  • James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation: Applications open for $24,000 fellowships for teachers. Learn more here.
  • Indiana University Center on Representative Government: Its new civics app, Engaging Congress, has been released on Google Play and the iTunes store.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities: Its schedule of tuition-free summer programs for teachers has been released. Learn more here.
  • Street Law: Applications open for its Supreme Court Summer Institute for teachers. Learn more here.