The Complete Bill of Rights: The Drafts, Debates, Sources, and Origins

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Incorporating all pertinent materials, Neil H. Cogan devotes a chapter to each clause of the Bill of Rights. He presents each draft of the clause and every textual source, including the state convention proposals; the state, colonial, and English sources; and caselaw and treatises. He includes all the relevant debates in the First Congress and in the constitutional ratifying conventions, as well as the debate and discussion in the pamphlet literature, letters, and diaries of the time. Cogan has verified the drafts, debates, and proposals against the original manuscripts and newspaper records of the Library of Congress and the National Archives. He has verified the state and colonial sources against original, pre-1789 law books in the outstanding collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia, among other libraries. The result is the most complete and useful record of the Bill of Rights available. The Complete Bill of Rights is especially valuable for judges and lawyers and for scholars and students of law, history, and political science.
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Editorial Reviews

The documentary record and story of the origins and processes by which these rights were proposed, debated, and ratified. A chapter is devoted to each clause of the Bill of Rights, and includes each draft of the clause and every textual source, including the state convention proposals; the state, colonial, and English sources; and caselaw and treatises. All the relevant debates in the First Congress and in the constitutional ratifying conventions are included, as well as the debate and discussion in the pamphlet literature, letters, and diaries of the time. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Donald W. Jackson
How should a reference work be reviewed? Several of the customary standards for reviewing a monograph (the identification of the book's thesis, the methodology employed by the author, the review and evaluation of the book's findings and conclusions, the contribution of the book to a body of substantive literature) do not apply. Instead, it seems reasonable to specify the purpose of a reference book, its organization and its breadth. Then a reviewer ought to consider what this reference work offers relative to comparable sources. Neil Cogan is quite clear about his purpose and the breadth of his book: "THIS BOOK'S AIM IS TO PROVIDE THE MOST COMPLETE, ACCURATE, and accessible set of texts available for interpreting the Bill of Rights. . . ." The organizing feature of the book is to devote a chapter to each clause of the Bill of Rights, except for the provisions for criminal due process, which are grouped together in Chapter 12. For example, Chapter 1 begins with the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. All of the drafts and proposals relative to those clauses are in the first section of the chapter; any contemporaneous discussion of these drafts and proposals is contained in the second section; and any antecedent or contemporaneous discussion of the rights to be protected by the clauses is gathered in the third section. The references within each section are arranged chronologically. This structure, coupled with the chronology, is especially important in the first section of each chapter. There one can see the evolution of the precise wording of a provision, such as the Establishment Clause, with the source of each change being clearly identified. It took an enormous amount of work to bring these proposals together within this structure. That work having been well done once saves incalculable time (consisting mostly of tedious effort) for other scholars. We should be grateful. Dean Cogan includes in his preface a brief section on the importance of "originalism." He suggests the vagaries of meanings of that term, but argues (quite reasonably I think) that whatever importance one may attribute to original intent, having a complete, accurate and accessible texts of the words in question is helpful to all. He says that otherwise, "there is no place where one can read all the drafts of the provisions of the Bill of Rights. One must piece the drafts together from journals, newspaper reports, and manuscripts." That brings us to the question of comparable sources. Of course there are plenty of accounts of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, all of them equally constrained by the notes and journals of the participants and witnesses. One account (Prescott, 1968) rearranged Madison's notes to facilitate consideration of the consecutive development of provisions of the original Constitution, somewhat like Cogan's efforts with the Bill of Rights. But, of course, none of the accounts of the Constitutional Convention treat the Bill of Rights. Cogan's principal competitor as a reference work on the Bill of Rights is the work of Bernard Schwartz. Schwartz's first version was THE BILL OF RIGHTS: A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY (1971) and his second was THE ROOTS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS (1980). The second edition essentially is a popular edition of the first, with illustrations added. Cogan is quite right; his book makes the evolution of the text of provisions of the Bill of Rights much more accessible than other reference books. While Schwartz presents his sources chronologically, he offers them in their own context, (e.g., a day's entry from the ANNALS OF CONGRESS, which may cover a number of clauses) rather than using a particular clause of the Bill of Rights as the organizing principle. Cogan's presentation is much better. What Schwartz does, while Cogan does not, is to offer, in their entirety, various possible antecedents for the Bill of Rights, back to 1215 and Magna Carta on the English side, and to the First Charter of Virginia (1606) on the American side of the Atlantic. There are, of course, many other sources for such antecedents, one of the notable ones being the Perry and Cooper (1972) compilation for the American Bar Foundation, SOURCES OF OUR LIBERTIES which also begins with Magna Carta. What Cogan does, while Schwartz and the Perry and Cooper compilation do not, is to extract from antecedents particular words as they relate to the evolution of a particular clause of the Bill of Rights. For example, in the context of the Establishment Clause, Cogan quotes from the Mayflower Compact of 1620 the avowed purpose of the colonists to undertake for the "glory of God, and the advancement of the christian faith," the establishment of a colony in Virginia, while Schwartz does not include the Mayflower Compact among his antecedents. Schwartz gives us the entirety of the English Bill of Rights of 1689, while Cogan relates specific provisions from that document to a related provisions of the U.S. Bill of Rights. For those for whom "originalism" may be important, or indeed for those who doubt its relevance, Cogan's book offers the common ground of an accurate and accessible source. Every reference library should have a copy. REFERENCES Perry, Richard L. and John C. Cooper (eds.). 1972 [c.1959] SOURCES OF OUR LIBERTIES. New York: New York University Press. Prescott, Arthur T. 1968 [c1941]. DRAFTING THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION. New York: Greenwood Press. Schwartz, Bernard. 1971. THE BILL OF RIGHTS: A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY. (2 vols.). New York: Chelsea House. __________. 1980. THE ROOTS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS (5 vols.). New York: Chelsea House.
From the Publisher

Reviews from previous edition:

"Every reference library should have a copy."--

"All academic research libraries should buy this book."--

"For anyone interested in our Constitution, our history, or our political theory, this book is an intellectual treasure chest. It is more than legislative history. It is constitution-drafting in the raw--all the proposals and all the give-and-take (some of it disturbing) that resulted in the adoption of the Bill of Rights."--Floyd A. Abrams,

"This wonderful collection offers one-stop shopping for the serious student of the Bill of Rights, for the casual reader, and for everyone in between."--Akhil Reed Amar, Southmayd Professor of Law, Yale Law School

"This book is an invaluable resource for constitutional scholars, teachers, litigators, and judges alike. It collects and collates the basic texts necessary for informed interpretation of the Bill of Rights and gives them to researchers in a compact, comprehensive, and reliable form that is wonderfully organized for both quick scanning and sustained critical analysis. It makes previously difficult research tasks easy and opens new lines of thinking at a glance."-- Anthony G. Amsterdam, Judge Edward Weinfeld Professor and Director, Lawyering Program, New York University Law School

"What a treasure. In one volume, everything any constitutional scholar, lawyer, or history buff needs to know about the origins of our Bill of Rights. Now the debate about how these amendments should be interpreted can really begin."--Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor, Harvard Law School

"The Complete Bill of Rights is a major occasion in American publishing. This volume will take its place on the reference shelf next to Farrand, Elliott, Storing, Kurland, and Lerner as essential to the understanding of the American constitutional tradition. Never before has it been possible to think seriously and completely about the text of the Bill of Rights, for never before have all of the texts relating to the final version of the Bill of Rights been easily and accurately accessible in one reference work. This is a triumph of careful and thoughtful scholarship. It is now one of the essential components of the library of constitutionalism. It will never be out of date."--Stanley N. Katz, President, American Council of Learned Societies

" . . . all students of the Constitution will find this a helpful and provocative work."--Pergamon

" . . .The Complete Bill of Rights contribute[s] significantly to our undersranding of a towering constitutional document that plays a major role in determining our national identity . . . "--Wisconsin Magazine of History

"...The Complete Bill of Rights is, by any reasonable standard of measurement, a magnificent accomplishment . . .[it] is likely to become the standard source book for those seeking to ground their examination of the issues posed by the first ten amendments in the original source materials describing their drafting, discussion and ratification."--Michigan Law Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195103229
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/16/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 768
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil H. Cogan is Professor of Law at Whittier Law School. He was Dean of Whittier Law School and Vice President for Legal Education for the College from 2001 to 2009. During his deanship, the Law School established the Center for International and Comparative Law, the Institute for Legal Writing and Professional Skills, the Institute for Student and Graduate Academic Support, the Institute for Trial Advocacy, and six Summer Study Abroad Programs. He is a litigator, having tried both bench and jury trials and argued appeals in the federal and state courts. His The Complete Bill of Rights (Oxford University Press, 1997) has been frequently cited by the United States Supreme Court and in the scholarly literature.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations of Sources
Ch. 1 Amendment I: Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses 1
Ch. 2 Amendment I: Free Speech and Free Press Clauses 83
Ch. 3 Amendment I: Assembly and Petition Clauses 129
Ch. 4 Amendment II: Keep and Bear Arms Clause 169
Ch. 5 Amendment III: Quartering Soldiers Clause 207
Ch. 6 Amendment IV: Search and Seizure Clause 223
Ch. 7 Amendment V: Grand Jury Clause 265
Ch. 8 Amendment V: Double Jeopardy Clause 297
Ch. 9 Amendment V: Self-Incrimination Clause 315
Ch. 10 Amendment V: Due Process Clause 337
Ch. 11 Amendment V: Takings Clause 361
Ch. 12 Amendment VI: Criminal Trial Clauses 385
Ch. 13 Amendment VII: Civil Jury Trial Clauses 493
Ch. 14 Amendment VIII: Bail/Punishment Clauses 605
Ch. 15 Amendment IX: Unenumerated Rights Clause 627
Ch. 16 Amendment X: Reservation of Powers Clause 663
Appendix: Bill of Rights 707
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2006

    Fabulous source

    Very complete with tremendous sources. The book covers each amendment individually and quotes many sources such as Blackstone, colonial constitutions, Madison's notes, and correspondence of key people. It shows the context and beliefs of the the time which resulted in the Bill of Rights. Excellent source for understanding the 'original intent' so often discussed in current constitutionality cases.

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