G Unit 1 – Foundations

Unit Title

Foundations of American Government

Timeframe

8 weeks

Content Statements Addressed

  • G CS 4, G CS 5, G CS 6, G CS 7, G CS 8, G CS 9, G CS 10, G CS 11, G CS 12, G CS 13

Essential Questions

  • In what ways were the American colonies democratic? In what ways were they not democratic?
  • What were the key arguments presented by the Federalists and Anti-Federalist?
  • How does the principle of “limited government” have applicability in the 21st century?
  • How has constitutional government in the United States changed over time?

Learning Targets

  1. Explain in context one of the basic principles which help define the government of the United States
  2. Cite arguments from the Federalist Papers and/or the Anti-Federalist Papers that supported their position on the issue of how well the Constitution upheld the principle of limited government
  3. Select an example of how constitutional government in the United States has changed the meaning and application of any one of the basic principles which help define the government of the United States and summarize the nature of the change.
  4. Relate one of the arguments over the need for a bill of rights to the wording of one of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
  5. Summarize how the 13th through the 15th Amendments addressed the aftermath of slavery and the Civil War
  6. Summarize how the 16th through the 19th Amendments addressed the calls for reform during the Progressive Era.
  7. Cite evidence to show that the Constitution of the United States has been repeatedly amended to extend suffrage to disenfranchised groups.
  8. Explain the historical circumstances surrounding the adoption of constitutional amendments pertaining to presidential election, terms, and succession.
  9. Describe the unique circumstances surrounding the adoption of Amendments 11, 21, and 27.

Vocabulary

  • Limited government
  • John Locke
  • Representative government
  • First Continental Congress
  • Second Continental Congress
  • James Madison
  • republic
  • Virginia Plan
  • New Jersey Plan
  • 3/5 Compromise
  • Federalist Papers
  • Bill of Rights
  • Articles of Confederation
  • popular sovereignty
  • bicameral legislature

Learning Strategies

  • Define representative government
  • Explain why colonists expected representative government
  • Analyze why the colonists and British were unable to compromise and settle their differences.
  • In small groups, students will identify weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and predict how those problems will create later problems.
  • Describe the creation and ratification of the Constitution.
  • Present arguments for and against ratification of the Constitution as a Federalist and/or Anti-Federalist.
  • Describe the structure of and principles behind the Constitution.
  • Using current events, cite examples that illustrate applications of the basic principles that help define the government of the United States.
  • Review the amendments to the U.S. Constitution and group amendments based on the five principles which help define the government of the United States
  • Identify the amendments of the U.S. Constitution and group the amendments based on the five principles which help define the government of the United States.
  • Identify the ways of proposing and ratifying the amendments to the Constitution and detail methods of informal constitutional change
  • Have students observe images of all 1-27 amendments and then analyze which amendment is being displayed.

Diverse Learners Strategies
Emergent

  • Create flashcards for the following words: Limited government, John Locke, Stamp Act, Intolerable Acts, First Continental Congress, Second Continental Congress, Common Sense, James Madison, republic, Virginia Plan, New Jersey Plan, Alexander Hamilton, 3/5 Compromise, Federalist Papers, Bill of Rights, “checks and balances”, Articles of Confederation, Marbury v. Madison, popular sovereignty, Shays Rebellion
  • Read one of the Jean Fritz books and gather 8-10 facts .
  • Guided Readings: 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
  • Create a timeline for the events that occurred under the Articles of Confederation up to the creation of the Constitution

Advanced

  • Write a Letter to the Editor from the perspective of a small farmer in Delaware explaining which of the plans being proposed at the Constitutional Convention for the new Constitution you support and why.
  • Create a one page graphic novel about one of the following events: Great Compromise, debate over the Bill of Rights, Marbury v Madison
  • Read excerpts from the Federalist Papers as well as Anti-Federalist Papers. Conduct small group discussions followed by a large-group discussion on the relative merits of the arguments in each.

Resources