Students will explore the vice of ambition in a constitutional republic and civil society in this lesson on civic virtue. Students will examine the difference between self-serving ambition and noble ambition, and then explore the character and career of Aaron Burr. Burr engaged in various machinations to establish an empire in the West and was put on trial for treason. Students will analyze a historical narrative, discussion guide, and various activities to explore the effect of self-serving ambition in a constitutional republic and on civil society.
Bill of Rights Institute
Use this lesson with the Mercy Otis Warren Narrative and the Judith Sargent Murray Primary Source "On the Equality of the Sexes" to allow students to discuss gender roles and expectations in the founding period.
The "Great Writ" or habeas corpus has been an essential civil liberty guaranteed since Magna Carta. In listing powers denied to Congress, the Constitution notes that "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." In 1861, Abraham Lincoln invoked this power of Congressâ€”which was not in sessionâ€”to suspend habeas corpus in certain areas. The next year, as he believed the civil justice system was inadequate to deal with the rebellion, he expanded the suspension throughout the United States and established military tribunals to try citizens charged with disloyalty. In this lesson, students explore Lincolnâ"s suspension of habeas corpus and constitutional issues surrounding it.
Presidents Buchanan, Lincoln, and Johnson believed that the Constitution protected the institution of slavery. Lincoln came to the conclusion that, in order to preserve the Constitution and the Union it created, he must apply a new understanding of the principles on which the nation was built. The time had come to bring the nationâ"s policies in line with the of the Declaration of Independence that "â€¦all men are created equalâ€¦" In this lesson, students will analyze Abraham Lincolnâ"s views on slavery and the Constitution as evidenced in the Emancipation Proclamation.
In this lesson, students will learn about Abraham Lincolnâ"s Emancipation Proclamation. Students will specifically learn about how Lincolnâ"s actions conform to the idea of justice and how they can apply this idea into actions in their own lives.
Students should have a solid foundation of the regional differences in the former colonies, now states, as well as an understanding of the ratification of the Constitution. This Lesson is best used after students have read The Constitutional Convention and The Ratification Debate on the Constitution Narratives in Chapter 3. The James Madison and the Bill of Rights Narrative in Chapter 4 can be used as background for the Lesson or can be assigned as homework after the Lesson to reinforce main ideas.
In this lesson, students will learn about how Harriet Beecher Stowe fought against the injustice of slavery. They will also consider ways in which they can fight injustices in their own lives.
In this lesson, students will review Christopher Columbusâ" diligent actions as an adventurer and in completing the voyage across the Atlantic. They will achieve the following objectives.
Constitutional amendments were ratified during and after the Civil War to protect the natural and civil rights of African Americans. Despite these legal protections, the condition of African Americans significantly worsened in the last few decades of the nineteenth century. In the late nineteenth century, the promise of emancipation and Reconstruction went largely unfulfilled and was even reversed in the lives of African Americans. Southern blacks suffered from horrific violence, political disfranchisement, economic discrimination, and legal segregation. Ironically, the new wave of racial discrimination that was introduced was part of an attempt to bring harmony between the races and order to American society.
In this lesson, students will study the life of Alexander Hamilton. Students will learn about his reasoning in supporting a single and powerful executive leader, his role at the Constitutional Convention, and the role he played in shaping the new United States government.
In the early republic, Congress was a colorful, exciting, unpredictable, and contentious branch of the United States government. The members constantly quarreled but often deliberated and compromised through persuasive oratory and rational conversation. Congress was divided by party and sectionalism, but was guided through these difficulties by legislative statesmen. The Congress continued to function as the undisputed law making body of the people of the United States. Even during some of its most tumultuous years, from 1789 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1860, the Congress effectively governed the nation.
Students should be familiar with the increasing tensions between American Indians and U.S. settlers discussed in the Chapter 5 Introductory Essay: 1800-1828 and the following Narratives: The Lewis and Clark Expedition ,Old Hickory: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans , and Tecumseh and the Prophet.
Lesson 1 outlines the main themes of the Being an American curriculum and introduces the final capstone project, in which students will capture and synthesize ideas from the lessons.
In this lesson, students will compare and contrast excerpts from The Republic of Plato and selected Federalist Papers by James Madison to determine in what ways Madison agreed and disagreed with Plato, regarding human nature the proper role of government in a society. What influence did Plato have on James Madison and the writers of the Constitution? In what ways did they agree? In what ways did they disagree?
What is the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? How do these Founding documents reflect common republican principles?