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Chapter Two: The Fight for the Bill of Rights


The debate over adding the Bill of Rights to the Constitution polarized the new nation. The Anti-Federalists argued in favor of including a bill of rights, which would enable people to know when their rights were threatened. Federalists believed that a bill of rights was not needed, because states and individuals kept any rights not granted to the federal government.

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Discussion Questions

  1. What do you think is the most important amendment in the Bill of Rights? Why?
  2. Do you think the Bill of Rights is still effective? Why or why not?

Additional Resources: 

  • Read “The Legal Origins of American Exceptionalism,” by Michael McConnell. Available here.
  • Listen as Michael McConnell discusses “The Legal Origins of American Exceptionalism,” available here.