The Bill of Rights in Historical Perspective

October 19-21, 2012 and April 5-7, 2013


During the ratification debates, criticism of the Constitution focused largely on the absence of a ‘bill of rights.'  James Madison responded to this criticism by observing that the Constitution restricted the powers of the national government to those that were clearly defined.  He also noted that any enumeration of rights was likely to be incomplete and thus leave important non-enumerated rights unprotected.

This seminar will examine the Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist debate on a bill of rights in the context of modern natural rights theory.  In particular, participants will explore how Madison's position evolved between 1787 and 1789, and how he eventually became the chief architect of the Bill of Rights.

Seminar Scholars

Lynn Uzzell, PhD, received her doctorate in politics at the University of Dallas and her bachelors degree at Black Hills State University. Dr. Uzzell   has taught extensively about the Constitution and is an expert on the Constitutional Convention. She has taught political philosophy, American politics, rhetoric, and Leadership and the Humanities at Baylor University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Richmond. She is currently Scholar in Residence at the Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and senior editor of ConText, an online resource for Madison's notes on the Constitutional Convention. 
Dr. Uzzell will teach the October 19–21, 2012, Bill of Rights seminar.
David E. Marion, Ph.D., is the Elliott Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs at Hampden-Sydney College, where he specializes in Constitutional Law, American Public Administration, Public Policy, Jurisprudence, American National Government, and Constitutional and Historical Dimensions of Public Service in Americ.  Dr. Marion is also the Director for the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest.  Dr. Marion served as a scholar during the 2010 NEH Summer Workshop on "James Madison and Constitutional Citizenship" at the Center for the Constitution.  Dr. Marion received his Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University. 
Dr. Marion will teach the April 5–7, 2013, Bill of Rights seminar.