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The Constitution in Action - Origin of the Bill of Rights: Madison's Amendments

Subject Social Studies
Grade Level Grades 9-12
Resource Type Activity

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History is the chronicle of choices made by actors/agents/protagonists in specific contexts. This lesson places students at the First Federal Congress and asks them to respond to the amendments James Madison proposed on June 8, 1789. Which of Madison’s proposals should they amend to the Constitution? Should they consider amendments proposed at state ratifying conventions as well? Whatever they decide on these matters, should amendments be placed at the end of the Constitution or woven into the body of the text, as Madison preferred? By engaging in this process, students will view the twelve amendments that emerged from the First Federal Congress, ten of which became the Bill of Rights, not as foregone conclusions but as the consequence of considered deliberations. 

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