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The Bill of Rights and Other Freedoms - Thursday

Instructor: Jerry Nault

Thursdays •  9/19-11/7 • 10:15 AM-12:15 PM • 8 classes

Class size 8 to 18 students
4 seats remaining
Location: Jewett 291

American colonists cherished their rights, fought a war for them, and then initially failed to include even the most basic rights in the U.S. Constitution! Why? What really happened? 

We’ll begin the course with a broad discussion of “rights”, what they are and who should have them. We’ll look at early examples contained in colonial documents and state constitutions. Then we’ll examine the reasons for the initial omission at Philadelphia’s Constitutional Convention in 1787.

Next, prepare to examine and discuss each Constitutional amendment dealing with “rights” including those beyond the first ten.

Finally, we’ll review some of the Supreme Court decisions that have “morphed”, modified, or magnified the rights enjoyed by people in the United States today and discuss “new” rights that are currently postulated.

Course Text (provided)
The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution
by Richard Beeman. 
Other supplemental reading provided.

American Revolutions, A Continental History, 1750-1804, Alan Taylor, WW Norton & Co., NY
America’s Constitution, A Biography, Akhil Reed Amar, Random House, NY
The Bill of Rights Primer, Akhil Reed Amar and Les Adams, MJF Books, NY
The U.S. Constitution, Ray Raphael, Vintage Books, NY
The Constitution, An Introduction, Michael Stokes Paulsen and Luke Paulsen, Basic Books, NY

Jerry Nault enjoys reading and discussing American and Maine history, government, and politics. He’s a native New Englander, has lived in Maine for over 35 years, and served on municipal and regional governing boards and committees. With degrees in Engineering and Business Administration, he has worked in the private sector and state government before retiring. His wife Vikki and he live in Windsor.