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Less than 30 minutes
  • Constitution
  • Politics
  • 3-8

  1. Distribute copies of the essay and worksheet.
  2. Tell students that after a summer of debates, the Constitution was signed in 1787. Some people hoped that meant the arguments were over. But in some ways, they had just begun.
  3. Tell students that they will read a brief essay on the arguments made in 1789 for and against a bill of rights and then, as a group, discuss the ideas.


Debating the Bill of Rights essay and worksheet (download), one per student  

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Federalists’ arguments?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Antifederalists’ arguments?
  • Why might Madison have thought it was important to form a committee to consider the amendments?
  • What would life be like without a bill of rights?
  • Should the bill of rights be updated? If so, what rights should be added or amended?


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