Book Review: The Bill of Rights

Reading Level

Ages 7-12

Also in This Series

• The Constitution • The Declaration of Independence • The Emancipation Proclamation

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Now here's a book we can really sink our teeth into, in a big way. It's a subject that many people think they know a lot about but that knowledge tends to be rather limited and one-dimensional.

The book examines each of the first 10 Amendments individually, with the requisite extra-long focus on the First Amendment. Examples of what is law according to the Supreme Court's interpretation of those Amendments is included as conversational prose, and the effect of that is a primer in constitutional law. Excellent examples are given to illustrate the efficacy of all of these Amendments, including the rarely mentioned Ninth and Tenth, which deal with limitations on federal powers.

The book includes some fascinating trivia as well, including:

  • Only 11 states ratified the Bill of Rights;
  • Only four people signed the Bill of Rights. Those four were John Adams, who was vice-president at the time; Frederick Muhlenberg, who was Speaker of the House at the time; and the chief clerks for the House and Senate.

The book includes modern events to illustrate the concepts found in the Bill of Rights. This works well, bringing the ideas home to today's readers. Also a welcome sight are the inclusion of the Declaration of Rights of the Stamp Act Congress and the Virginia Declaration of Rights, both of which gave a handful of ideas to the Bill of Rights.

This book does an excellent of explaining the sometimes confusing first 10 Amendments and placing the rights that they protect in the full context of both colonial and modern times.

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