Massachusetts Body of Liberties
America's Most Important Documents: Inquiry into Historical Sources
Reading Level: 6
Interest Level: 5-8
The Bill of Rights is one of America's most treasured documents. Most of the rights guaranteed in the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as many others, were introduced in America 150 years earlier, in the Massachusetts Body of Liberties. This 1641 document, composed by extremely strict Puritans, proclaimed that citizens were entitled to protections that were revolutionary for their time. How did men who frequently punished people arbitrarily and cruelly, for seemingly trivial offenses, write such a code? This book explains all of this, as well as why and how those liberties impact Americans today.