Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated, and Illuminated History of The Bill of Rights

Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated, and Illuminated History of The Bill of Rights

by Robert McWhirter


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Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated, and Illuminated History of The Bill of Rights by Robert McWhirter

There has rarely been a more appropriate time for a book tracing the history and contemporary interpretation of the ten articles comprising the Bill of Rights. While various citizens’ groups claim individual Articles in support of their positions, very few of us are sufficiently versed in either the framers’ intentions or the Article’s subsequent history and interpretation to argue either for or against them knowledgeably. Gun possession, freedom of speech, religious freedom, executive power, government surveillance – what exactly was the intent of the framers? What are the arguments surrounding them today? How did we get from that original intent to where we are now? This lively history of the Bill of Rights traces the origin of the first ten Amendments over the span of nearly a thousand years; starting with the philosophical and religious understanding informing them, moving through their creation and meaning for the framers, and leading to their interpretation and disputation today. On the journey there are illuminating and entertaining diversions into the history of literature, religion, film, sports and popular culture.

A tour de force of legal scholarship, historical perspective, and cultural allusion, this book belongs on the bookshelf of every citizen, history buff, and lawyer as well as the high school civics student.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781945682001
Publisher: RR&G Enterprises
Publication date: 08/07/2015
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 834,921
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Robert McWhirter is an acknowledged authority on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights on which he has written and lectured widely both to academic and legal audiences as well as civic institutions. His earlier work was published by the American Bar Association. He appears regularly on Arizona Public Television’s Horizon program explaining the legality and history surrounding the challenges to, and interpretation of, the Constitution.

Robert also specializes in criminal law on which he has published widely. He presently practices as a criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona.

Table of Contents


Prequel and Preamble: Did They Forget to Pay the Bill?

The First Amendment
Jesus and the First Amendment; Christians and Lions; Separating Church and State in The City of God; When the Church was the State; Magna Carta and Freedom of Religion; Martin Luther and John Calvin; Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More; Religion and Speech in Puritan America; Libel Law in Colonial America; John Peter Zenger's trial and the Freedom of the Press; A Christian Nation?; The 'Wall' Separating Church and State; The First Amendment as Your Personal Savior

The Second Amendment
What to Make of the Gun History Mess; Arms in History: The Ancient World; Medieval England; Early Modern Arms & Changes in the Militia; Arms against Catholics in England; 1689 and Parliament's Insistence on a Right to Bear Arms; Colonial America: England vs Colonial Militias; Militias and the Minuteman Myth; Second Amendment: Gun Regulation at the Founding; Guns as a Tax; Guns and Slavery; The Self-defense Myth; Preventing Tyranny

The Third Amendment
The Roman Army; The Anglo-Saxons in the Mead Hall; The Norman Conquest and Feudalism; The Growth of Armies; The Glorious Revolution and the Bill of Rights; The French and Indian War; The Intolerable Acts and the Boston Tea Party; Quartering Troops during the American Revolution; Quartering in the Bill of Rights; The Fear of a Standing Army; The Third Amendment for Today

The Fourth Amendment
"A Man’s Home is His Castle"; John Wilkes and the North Briton No. 45; Molasses and the Fourth Amendment; Mercantilism Versus Capitalism; The Triangle Trade — Rum for Slaves, Slaves for Molasses, Molasses for Rum; The Seven Years' War; America Reacts to the Writs; Sixty-Three Boston Merchants; Otis and the Writs; Of Wilkes and Writs: The Fourth Amendment's Two Clauses; The Fourth Amendment for Today

The Fifth Amendment
Biblical Sources; Christianity and the Middle Ages; The Ius Commune and Trial by Compurgation; The Inquisition; Church Courts in England and Double Jeopardy; Henry VIII and the Tudors; Legal Arguments Against the Oath; Lilburne's Trial and Legacy; The Puritans in America: Anne Hutchinson and the Salem Witches; Colonial Governors and Inquisitorial Proceedings; Privilege in American Constitutions

The Sixth Amendment
"Counsel For His Defense" in History; Anglo-Saxon and Norman Courts; The King's Peace and the King's Courts; Tudor and Stuart Trials; Lilburne Pleads for a Lawyer; Habeas Corpus; Judicial Independence; The Framers and the Rule of Law; The Defendant Gets Lilburne's Lawyer; Treason Act of 1696; Prosecutors, Reasonable Doubt, and the Presumption of Innocence; Boston Massacre Trial; The Average Citizen's Trial

The Seventh Amendment
When a Trial Really Was a Trial: Compurgation, Ordeal, and Battle, Trial By His Body; To Plead or Not To Plead; Juries in Athens and Rome; The Jury's Source: Frankish, English, Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon, or Norman?; Why Twelve Jurors?; The Early English Jury; The Grand Jury and Petit Jury; The Changing Grand Jury; Jurors Become Even Less Informed; Evidence and the Hearsay Rule; The Early Modern Jury; Juries in America

The Eighth Amendment
"Cruel and Unusual" from Lex Talionis; Double Jeopardy and Proportionality; A History of Death; A Classical Death; Death in a Time of God's Mercy; King's Death; The English Bill of Rights; "Cruel and Unusual" as a Pair

The Ninth Amendment
Rights, Government, and States; Declaring Our Right to Rights Naturally; Greeks and Romans on Rights and Law; Medieval Rights; Rights in English History; John Locke and the Natural Law; Locke and the Founding Generation; Taking the Ninth Amendment Personally; The Ninth Amendment: A Happy Failure

The Tenth Amendment
The Ninth and Tenth Amendments: Two Sides of the Same Coin?; A History of Rights and Powers; The Tenth Amendment and Federalism; Courts as Umpires of Federalism and Separate Powers; Slavery: A "Peculiar" Right Perfecting the Art of Hypocrisy; Bringing the South to the Cause; Fighting for the Right to Be "the People"

Epilogue: How We Ponied-Up to Pay the Bill
The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments

About the Author

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