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Declaring Rights: A Brief History with Documents

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Ideal for introducing students to the conception and development of the Bill of Rights, this concise volume examines the Federalists' and Anti-Federalists' struggle over amending the Constitution while highlighting the relevance their debates have for modern-day issues. Rakove's lively narrative begins with a study of American roots in English common law, examines the heated discourse and thoughtful deliberation of the founders, and culminates with a close look at the evolution of rights distinctly American. Interspersed throughout are 25 primary documents - including letters, declarations, newspaper editorials, and debates - that embody and contextualize the issues. Also included are extensive gloss notes, a chronology, questions for consideration, a bibliography, and an index.
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Editorial Reviews

Introduces advanced undergraduate students to the conception and development of the Bill of Rights, examining the Federalists' struggle over amending the Constitution and highlighting the relevance of their debates for modern-day issues. Begins with a study of American roots in English common law, details the heated deliberation of the founders, and looks at the evolution of American rights. Incorporates 25 primary documents, such as letters, declarations, newspaper editorials, and debates, and includes a chronology and discussion questions. Ideal as a one-week assignment in a college course. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312177683
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Pages: 237
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack N. Rakove is Coe Professor of History and American Studies and professor (by courtesy) of political science at Stanford University. His scholarly work concentrates on the creation of a national policy in Revolutionary America, the problem of ascertaining the "original meaning" on the Constitution, and the political career and thinking of James Madison. His most recent book, Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (1996), won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in history. Rakove's other works include James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic (1990), Interpreting the Constitution: The Debate over Original Intent (1990), and The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretative History of the Continental Congress (1979). He contributes to numerous scholarly and legal journals and lectures both in the United States and abroad.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Rights across the Centuries 1
Pt. 1 Rights in Revolution 5
1 The Seventeenth-Century Background 7
2 Puzzles about Rights 17
3 The Colonists' Appeal to Rights 32
4 The Legacy of 1689 39
1 Declaration of Rights, February 12, 1688 o.s 41
5 Rights in Resistance 46
2 Resolutions of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, October 29, 1765 48
3 A Letter from a Gentleman at Halifax (1765) 51
4 The Earl of Clarendon to William Pym, January 27, 1766 55
5 Declaration and Resolves, October 14, 1774 63
6 Rights in the First Constitutions 69
6 Four Letters on Interesting Subjects, 1776 71
7 Resolutions of Concord, Massachusetts, October 21, 1776 74
8 Third Draft of a Constitution for Virginia, Part IV, June 1776 79
9 Committee Draft of a Declaration of Rights, May 27, 1776 81
10 Declaration of Rights, 1776 85
11 A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1780 88
12 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779 95
Pt. 2 The Constitution and Rights 97
7 Madison and the Problem of Rights 99
8 Framing the Constitution 108
9 The Basic Positions Stated 115
13 Amendments Proposed to Congress, September 27, 1787 117
14 Statehouse Speech, October 6, 1787 121
10 The Anti-Federalist Case 124
15 Second Essay Opposing the Constitution, November 1, 1787 126
16 Letter XVI, January 20, 1788 133
11 The Federalist Position 143
17 Speech in the North Carolina Ratification Convention, July 28, 1788 145
12 Madison and Jefferson: The Classic Exchange 147
18 Letter to Thomas Jefferson, October 24, 1787 150
19 Letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787 154
20 Letter to James Madison, July 31, 1788 157
21 Letter to Thomas Jefferson, October 17, 1788 160
22 Letter to James Madison, March 15, 1789 165
13 Framing the Bill of Rights 167
23 Speech to the House of Representatives, June 8, 1789 170
24 Constitutional Amendments Proposed to the Senate, August 24, 1789 183
25 Constitutional Amendments Proposed to the States, September 28, 1789 189
Epilogue: After Two Centuries 194
A Constitutional Chronology (1603-1791) 199
Questions for Consideration 203
Selected Bibliography 204
Index 210
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