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A.E. Dick Howard is the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Virginia School of Law. He presents a short history of the Constitution and discusses the Supreme Court’s role in the ongoing debate about the separation of church and state. Professor Howard looks at the way precedents, the changing face of the Court, and evolving social norms have played roles in shaping the interpretation of this fundamental aspect of American government.
Historian Carol Berkin briefly discusses the arguments put forth by Federalists and Anti-Federalists in the state ratification conventions.
The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 was full of conflict and compromise. Yet as the convention drew to a close, some of the biggest debates were just beginning. According to the Constitution, nine of the thirteen states needed to ratify the document before it could go into effect (although most acknowledged that without the support of all the states, the government would struggle with legitimacy). It would take almost three years for all thirteen states to ratify the Constitution. Some...
This unit is part of Gilder Lehrman’s series of Common Core State Standards–based teaching resources. These units were developed to enable students to understand, summarize, and analyze original texts of historical significance. Through a step-by-step process, students will acquire the skills to analyze any primary or secondary source material.Lesson 1 Objective
Today students will participate as members of a critical thinking group and “read like a detective” in order to analyze the...
Students will be able to:Identify the parts of the Constitution and their purposes Explain the first ten amendments and how they affect people today Describe the rights and responsibilities of American citizens Historical Background