How and why did Congress draft the First Ten Amendments to the Constitution?
In the United States, we use the Constitution and Bill of Rights to understand and define ourselves culturally. Americans are a people with laws and rights that are protected by the Constitution because they are defined in the Constitution.
And the place where the Constitution defines and outlines our rights is within its First Ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights.
In this second episode of our 4th Doing History series, we’re investigating how and why Congress drafted the First Ten Amendments to the Constitution. Our guide for this investigation is Kenneth Bowling, a member of the First Federal Congress Project and a co-editor of Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791.
About the Series
Law is all around us. The “Doing History: Understanding the Fourth Amendment” series uses the Bill of Rights and the Fourth Amendment as case studies to examine where our rights come from and how they developed out of early American knowledge and experiences. It also uses the history of the Bill of Rights and the Fourth Amendment to explore the history of law as a field of study and how this field of study differs from other historical subjects and how historians and lawyers use and view the history of the law differently.
The Doing History series explores early American history and how historians work. It is part of Ben Franklin’s World, which is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Be sure you check out Doing History season 1, Doing History: How Historians Work; Doing History season 2, Doing History: To the Revolution!; And, Doing History season 3, Doing History: Biography.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Kenneth Bowling, a member of the First Federal Congress Project and a co-editor of Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791, leads our investigation of how and why Congress created the First Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution.
During our investigation, Ken reveals information about the First Federal Congress Project and its work to compile 22 published volumes of documents related to the First Federal Congress; The origins of the Bill of Rights and how Congress came to amend the Constitution; And the role documentary editions play in our historical knowledge and in our constitutional history.
What You’ll Discover
- First Federal Congress Project
- Locating the different records of the First Federal Congress
- Origins of the Bill of Rights
- Constitutional amendments proposed by the states during ratification
- George Mason and the Bill of Rights
- Rights the states proposed adding to the Constitution
- The First Federal Congress and the Fourth Amendment
- Changes made to the Bill of Rights by the Senate
- Reaction of House of Representatives to Senate changes of the Bill of Rights
- The role of history in Congress
- The role of history in the Constitution
- The role documentary editions play in historical knowledge & Constitutional history
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Kenneth Bowling
- First Federal Congress Project
- National Historical Publications and Records Commission
- The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution
- United States National Archives
- Creating the Bill of Rights: The Documentary Record from the First Federal Congress
- Jay Soderberg, the “Pod Vader”, host of Next Fan Up podcast
- Jake Parker, The Pendola Project Podcast
- Joel Sharpton, host of Always Listening: Podcast News
- Joseph M. Adelman “Articles of Amendment: Copying “The” Bill of Rights“, Uncommon Sense blog
- Gautham Rao, “Friends in All the Right Places: The Newest Legal History“, Uncommon Sense blog
- “Doing History 4 Legal Lexicon; or A Useful List of Terms You Might Not Know”
- “Doing History 4: Bibliography”
Production of this episode was made possible by a grant from the Roller-Bottimore Foundation of Richmond, Virginia.
- Episode 141: A Declaration in Draft
- Episode 143: Michael Klarman, The Making of the United States Constitution
- Episode 151: Defining the American Revolution
- Episode 179: George Van Cleve, Governance During the Critical Period
- Episode 202: The Early History of the United States Congress
- Episode 259: American Legal History & the Bill of Rights
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