Today marks the 220th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. Introduced by James Madison during the first United States Congress, the Bill of Rights is made up of the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The main purpose of the articles is to “protect the natural rights of liberty and property,” and to set limitations on the power of the federal government. Originally the Bill of Rights only offered protection for white land-owning males, but additional ammendments and court cases have extended it’s rights to all citizens. Today the Bill of Rights plays an important role in U.S. goverment, but it also stands as a symbol of American freedom. Seventy years ago, on the 150th anniversary of their ratification, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15th to be Bill of Rights Day. A half century later a one of the fourteen original copies toured the country in honor of its bicentinnial. Today, a copy can be found housed in the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Chris and I gave ourselves a government refresher back in September when we celebrated Constitution Day by reading our nation’s constitution. Tonight, we decided to celebrate Bill of Rights Day in a less conventional manner — we spent the evening at Chris’s office holiday party and we were in the mood to keep the fun going. So, when we arrived home, instead of dedicating ourselves to just reading the Bill of Rights we watched a few educational YouTube videos. The first video we watched, Mr. Rupert’s Bill of Rights Tutorial, was a brief but slow-paced lecture dubbed over footage that included historical paintings as well as clips from Family Guy and a Jim Carrey movie. My favorite part was near the beginning, where all of the weapons in a historical battle painting had been replaced with Star Wars light sabers. I can see how the video would have grabbed the attention of students, even while the lecture served to enrich their learning. I was certainly amused.
After the lecture we watched a couple music videos explaining the purpose of the ten amendments that make up the Bill of Rights. The method of presentation was a little on the silly side, but again, I understood how they would appeal to students. The first video was titled Bill of Right Song, and the next one was a Bill of Rights rap. Out of the tow, I definitely preferred the clever rap song. By the time we’d finished watching the creme de la creme of what YouTube has to offer about the Bill of Rights, I felt like I’d had a pretty good review of the important document. Now I just need to find some bear arms to mount on our wall.
Tomorrow will mark the first of a slew of upcoming food lovers’ “unofficials.” December 17th is Chocolate Covered Anything Day!