Cover image for The Bill of Rights : how we got it and what it means
Title:
The Bill of Rights : how we got it and what it means
Author:
Meltzer, Milton, 1915-2009.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Crowell, [1990]

©1990
Physical Description:
xii, 179 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
Traces the history of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution and highlights contemporary challenges to each of the ten amendments.
General Note:
"Ages 12 up"--Jkt. flap.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780690048056

9780690048070
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Traces the history of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution and highlights contemporary challenges to each of the ten amendments.


Summary

Traces the history of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution and highlights contemporary challenges to each of the ten amendments.


Author Notes

Historian Milton Meltzer was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1915. He attended Columbia University, but had to leave during his senior year because of the Great Depression. He got a job writing for the WPA Federal Theater Project. During World War II, he served as an air traffic controller in the Army Air Corps. After the war, he worked as a writer for CBS radio and in public relations for Pfizer.

In 1956, he published his first book A Pictorial History of the Negro American, which was co-written by Langston Hughes. They also collaborated on Langston Hughes: A Biography, which was published in 1968 and received the Carter G. Woodson award. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 110 books for young people including Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? about the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression; Never to Forget about the Holocaust; and There Comes a Time about the Civil Rights movement. He also addressed such topics as crime, ancient Egypt, the immigrant experience, labor movements, photography, piracy, poverty, racism, and slavery. He wrote numerous biographies including ones on Mary McLeod Bethune, Lydia Maria Child, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Sanger, and Henry David Thoreau. He received the 2000 Regina Medal and the 2001 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his body of work and his lasting contribution to children's literature. He died of esophageal cancer on September 19, 2009 at the age of 94.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Historian Milton Meltzer was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1915. He attended Columbia University, but had to leave during his senior year because of the Great Depression. He got a job writing for the WPA Federal Theater Project. During World War II, he served as an air traffic controller in the Army Air Corps. After the war, he worked as a writer for CBS radio and in public relations for Pfizer.

In 1956, he published his first book A Pictorial History of the Negro American, which was co-written by Langston Hughes. They also collaborated on Langston Hughes: A Biography, which was published in 1968 and received the Carter G. Woodson award. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 110 books for young people including Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? about the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression; Never to Forget about the Holocaust; and There Comes a Time about the Civil Rights movement. He also addressed such topics as crime, ancient Egypt, the immigrant experience, labor movements, photography, piracy, poverty, racism, and slavery. He wrote numerous biographies including ones on Mary McLeod Bethune, Lydia Maria Child, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Sanger, and Henry David Thoreau. He received the 2000 Regina Medal and the 2001 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his body of work and his lasting contribution to children's literature. He died of esophageal cancer on September 19, 2009 at the age of 94.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-10. With clarity and commitment, Meltzer once again shows his ability to focus on what's important and to avoid even a hint of jargon. Many other writers, including Meltzer himself, have written books on a single amendment, but here he looks at the Bill of Rights as a whole and discusses the issue of civil liberties in a democracy. Beginning with the Magna Carta, he examines the framing of the U.S. Constitution and the system of checks and balances. He gives the text of the 10 amendments, with brief explanations, and then looks at each one in turn, discussing such issues as the freedom to dissent and the witch-hunt (which he sees as two sides of the American tradition), secrecy and censorship (with a brief discussion of libraries and schools), gun control, privacy, and the right to remain silent. Calling on young people to be alert and involved, he warns: "Each generation has to stand up for its rights--or lose them." There's a long bibliography of books and some brief chapter notes, but Meltzer provides no footnotes, even to direct quotes, and no references at all to articles on current controversies about which he wants his readers to make informed and independent decisions. ~--Hazel ~Rochman


School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-- An in-depth examination of the history and application of this vital document. In the first section, Meltzer begins with the Magna Carta and traces how the growth in written, established political rights led to our adoption of a Bill of Rights, clearly linking the British and American systems. The second section gives the text of each amendment and a brief explanation of it in clear language. The last section demonstrates how each amendment has actually worked in practice. Meltzer uses many cases and examples, from the well-known Miranda decision to laws such as the Wagner Labor Relations Act, which granted workers the right to union protection. He stresses that our basic rights are always under attack and that citizens should be vigilant in protecting them. The narrative remains fairly objective, but Meltzer does advocate stronger federal gun controls. Lindop's The Bill of Rights and Landmark Cases (Watts) discusses many examples of the document's effectiveness without the extensive background offered here, and the Ritchies' U. S. Constitution (Chelsea House, both 1989) gives the history without detailing cases and laws. A comprehensive, clear, and coherent overview. --Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Gr. 6-10. With clarity and commitment, Meltzer once again shows his ability to focus on what's important and to avoid even a hint of jargon. Many other writers, including Meltzer himself, have written books on a single amendment, but here he looks at the Bill of Rights as a whole and discusses the issue of civil liberties in a democracy. Beginning with the Magna Carta, he examines the framing of the U.S. Constitution and the system of checks and balances. He gives the text of the 10 amendments, with brief explanations, and then looks at each one in turn, discussing such issues as the freedom to dissent and the witch-hunt (which he sees as two sides of the American tradition), secrecy and censorship (with a brief discussion of libraries and schools), gun control, privacy, and the right to remain silent. Calling on young people to be alert and involved, he warns: "Each generation has to stand up for its rights--or lose them." There's a long bibliography of books and some brief chapter notes, but Meltzer provides no footnotes, even to direct quotes, and no references at all to articles on current controversies about which he wants his readers to make informed and independent decisions. ~--Hazel ~Rochman


School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-- An in-depth examination of the history and application of this vital document. In the first section, Meltzer begins with the Magna Carta and traces how the growth in written, established political rights led to our adoption of a Bill of Rights, clearly linking the British and American systems. The second section gives the text of each amendment and a brief explanation of it in clear language. The last section demonstrates how each amendment has actually worked in practice. Meltzer uses many cases and examples, from the well-known Miranda decision to laws such as the Wagner Labor Relations Act, which granted workers the right to union protection. He stresses that our basic rights are always under attack and that citizens should be vigilant in protecting them. The narrative remains fairly objective, but Meltzer does advocate stronger federal gun controls. Lindop's The Bill of Rights and Landmark Cases (Watts) discusses many examples of the document's effectiveness without the extensive background offered here, and the Ritchies' U. S. Constitution (Chelsea House, both 1989) gives the history without detailing cases and laws. A comprehensive, clear, and coherent overview. --Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.