When the United State Constitution was originally drafted the framers wrestled with the idea of limiting the power and reach of the government over its citizens. Congressman were concerned that Americans be guaranteed basic freedoms and rights that could not be encroached upon by the government. James Madison, who originally was opposed to the concept of a constitution, drafted twelve amendments that he felt addressed this. He presented them to Congress and ten of the original twelve were passed. Fun fact, Madison and Washington were the only two Presidents to sign the constitution. The bill of rights gives Americans the right to assemble, freedom of speech and religion. It also ensures that we are given a fair trial if we are alleged to have committed a crime. This is also where the concept of a free press is established, this where many young democracies still have issues. Governing an entire country is complicated and balancing federal power against individual freedoms is a tricky tightrope act. The ink was barely dry on the United States Constitution before changes were being made through amendments. The first ten amendments specifically outlined basic freedoms for the people of the United States, and are known collectively as the Bill of Rights.
These worksheets will help students explore each amendment and how American citizens benefit from it. Students will also explore the language of the Bill of Rights. We will look for unfamiliar words, phrases, grammar, and syntax. It is amazing how much language can change over the course of three hundred years. We will also delve deep into some key amendments. These worksheets will introduce your students to the Bill of Rights, and explore what makes it such a unique document. Project idea: Have your students suggest new amendments to the Constitution and argue for their position as if they were members of Congress.