Chapter 4, “Civil Liberties,” in its entirety, focus specifically on the discussion of “the Bill of Rights: Origins and Evolution.”

Writing Assignment 2
Students will write an essay, 500-750 words in length, on a topic selected from the list below. The purpose of the project is to give students an opportunity to discuss a key political science concept, and to show a basic understanding of academic research and reporting skills. The project consists of producing a 500-750 word essay on one of the provided topics (see below), as well as a works cited page for sources containing information used in the essay.  Students are expected to bring into the essay information from at least one source other than the textbook.  In other words, although the textbook may be one of your sources, it may not be only source.  The assignment is to be formatted according to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style.  If a website is cited, the citation must include the URL (what is typed in the top line of a browser to bring up the website).  There should be an indication in the body of the assignment to show from which source facts came from, which may be by indicating the source and the page(s), if any, in parentheses next to the place where the facts are mention, in the following format:  “(<source>,<page(s)>)”.

-Students should use Courier or New Courier 12 point as the paper’s font, double space the text, and create one inch margins on all four sides of the page. In addition, the assignment should be formatted according to MLA style for papers with no title page.


1. After reading Chapter 4, “Civil Liberties,” in its entirety, focus specifically on the discussion of “the Bill of Rights: Origins and Evolution.” The Bill of Rights was written to secure our civil liberties with respect to the actions of the national government. With passage of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and subsequent judicial interpretation of its language, many of the protections in the Bill of Rights have been extended to protect individuals from state action (a process referred to as “incorporation”). Thus, just as the national government may not deprive us of our liberties without due process, the Fourteenth Amendment provides us with the same due process protection of our liberties from state government action. For over a century, and on a case-by-case, right-by-right, basis, the Court has been “incorporating” rights from the Bill of Rights into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Include the following:
Provide an understanding of the origins of the Bill of Rights.
Explain the Court’s original ruling of nationalization of the Bill of Rights, as expressed in Barron v. Baltimore (1833).
Define incorporation theory.
Describe the Court’s implementation of incorporation (nationalization) of the Bill of Rights.
Provide your perspective on incorporation; do you believe the Court has made the rights decision by interpreting the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to limit state action with regard to individual liberties that are expressed in the Bill of Rights?

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