Just the Facts: America's Documents of Freedom 1787-1796

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Our country s destiny has been shaped by those who gave of their leadership, wisdom and sometimes their lives. Our American s Documents of Freedom have recorded the evolution of our republic down through the years. This program focuses on the period of history when our country is first born and starting to grow. Educators from noted American universities share their insights on: The United States Constitution, The Federalist Papers, The Bill of Rights, and Washington s Farewell Address.åÊThe United States Constitution (1787)åÊ -- This document established the law of the land. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention were sent from their various states to modify the Articles of Confederation.åÊ Instead, they courageously discarded it and wrote an entirely new document. It has proved itself time and again to be a "living document" that adapts to the changing times. åÊThe Federalist Papers (1787-1788) -- James Madison, who would be our fourth President, along with the help of Alexander Hamilton, who would be our first secretary of the Treasury and John Jay, who would be the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, wrote The Federalist Papers to present arguments in favor of ratifying the newly written United States Constitution. åÊThe Bill of Rights (Proposed 1789, ratified 1791)åÊ -- Originally there were twelve amendments, written by James Madison, to ease the concerns of those who feared a strong central federal government.åÊ Eventually reduced to ten in number, the Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments to the Constitution, provide protection to citizens from a potentially abusive government. åÊWashington‰۪s Farewell Address (1796)åÊ -- In this essay published in America‰۪s newspapers, Washington gave American citizens his parting thoughts.åÊ Along with the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Monroe Doctrine, it is seen as one of the most profound statements of American political philosophy.