The Bill of Rights and The Founders

Provides an introduction and overview of the Bill of Rights, including the Founders’ understanding of the “rights of Englishmen,” British law, and natural rights philosophy. This unit also examines the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debate about a bill of rights.

Why A Bill of Rights? What Impact Does It Have?

Clock 60 minutes

The debate over the Bill of Rights at the Founding was not an argument over whether rights exist, but about how best to protect those rights. The Founders disagreed about whether a bill of rights was necessary, and whether it would be effective. Later generations continue to face the challenge of finding the best way to safeguard individual rights. This lesson explores these debates and discussions.

Founding Principles

Inalienable / Natural Rights image

Inalienable / Natural Rights

Freedoms which belong to us by nature and can only be justly taken away through due process.

Liberty image


Except where authorized by citizens through the Constitution, the government does not have the authority to limit freedom.

Limited Government image

Limited Government

Citizens are best able to pursue happiness when government is confined to those powers which protect their life, liberty, and property.

Majority Rule / Minority Rights image

Majority Rule / Minority Rights

Laws may be made with the consent of the majority but only to the point where they do not infringe on the inalienable rights of the minority.

Give Feedback

Send us your comments or questions using the form below.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.