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Defining Moments

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights

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Defining Moments: The Constitution and the Bill of Rights provides a detailed account the dramatic story behind the creation of the founding documents and democratic government of the United States. The volume begins by exploring the formation of the original thirteen American colonies and the series of events that convinced their leaders to seek independence from Great Britain. It then offers a detailed account of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, including the heated debates and last-minute compromises that helped define the role of government and the rights of citizens. The volume then chronicles the ratification battle between Federalists and Antifederalists that threatened to derail the fragile nation until the addition of the Bill of Rights resolved the crisis. It concludes by examining important amendments, legal interpretations, and controversies that continue to shape the meaning and legacy of the U.S. Constitution today. The volume is organized into three distinct sections—Narrative Overview, Biographies, and Primary Sources—which offer a one-stop resource for student research.

  • The Narrative Overview section provides a detailed, factual account of the events leading up to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the debates, controversies, and compromises that occurred as the document was drafted, the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and the enduring legacy of these events in American society
  • The Biographies section presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
  • The Primary Sources section collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era, including official documents, first-hand accounts, memoirs, editorials, and other important works

Other notable features include a glossary of important people, places, and terms; a detailed chronology featuring page references to relevant sections of the narrative; an annotated listing of selected sources for further study; an extensive general bibliography; and a subject index.

Standard Features

  • Library binding, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • 240 pages
  • 30-40 photographs and other illustrations
  • Narrative Overview section: Provides a detailed, factual account of the “defining moment”
  • Biographies section: Presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the event
  • Primary Sources section: Collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era
  • Research Topics: Proposes a list of topics suitable for conducting historical research and writing reports, a valuable starting point for student research
  • Source Attribution: Contains references for primary sources and other quoted material that guide users to other historical research resources
  • Glossary of Important People, Places, and Terms: Gives brief definitions for the many terms used in the book
  • Chronology: Highlights the related events in chronological order, along with “see” references that direct the reader to pages in the narrative with additional information
  • Sources for Further Study: Provides annotated citations for selected sources that are most useful to students
  • Bibliography: Lists books, periodicals, web sites, and videos consulted in preparing the volume
  • Subject Index: Includes people, places, organizations, events, and other topics