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High School Social Studies Teacher

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Presentation on theme: "High School Social Studies Teacher"— Presentation transcript:

1 High School Social Studies Teacher
American Paradox: Freedom & Slavery in the Early Republic High School Social Studies Teacher Ken de Masi Mesa, Arizona

2 “We should never forget slavery
“We should never forget slavery. We should talk about it every morning and every day of the year to remind this country that there’s an enormous gap between its practices and its professions.” - John Hope Franklin

3 Overview: This lesson provides students an opportunity to use primary source documents as they examine the paradoxical support for both freedom and slavery during the late colonial and founding periods.

4 Many different perspectives…
on the social studies themes of power, authority, and governance and civic ideals and practices are found in this lesson.

5 Purpose: To encourage students to examine the apparent silence of James Madison and George Washington and other central figures on the issue of slavery during the Constitutional Convention and in the early American republic.

6 Civics American Government American History
Connection to Curriculum: Civics American Government American History

7 Grade Level: 7 - 12 Time: 2 – 3 class periods

8 Objectives: Students will use information from original text sources to explain how and why the institution of slavery came to be accepted as part of the Constitution. Students will demonstrate application of the historian’s skills of asking questions, acquiring historical information, and answering historical questions. Students will engage in a group discussion on the necessity for compromise in the Constitutional Convention on the issue of slavery.

9 NCSS Thematic Strands:
Power, Authority, & Governance Examine persistent issues involving the rights, roles, and status of the individual in relation to the general welfare Civic Ideals & Practice Explain the origins and interpret the continuing influence of key ideals of the democratic republican form of government.

10 NCHS Standards: Era 3 – Revolution & the New Nation ( s) Standard 3 Historical Thinking Standard 2: Historical Comprehension Historical Thinking Standard 3: Historical Analysis & Interpretation

11 Materials Needed: The Debate on the Constitution The Federalist Papers
James Madison, Writings The Founders’ Constitution Selected websites

12 Resources: Student groups will consult a print or online encyclopedia and their text readings for background information. The following websites are particularly useful as resources for primary source documents.


14 [~requires registration for free 30-day trial]

15 Procedures: Briefly review the events of the Constitutional Convention. Have students read the letters, speeches, articles, and petition closely and interpret the documents using the key questions for interpreting historical documents and placing them in historical context. Discuss as a whole group the context and meaning(s) of the documents with special attention to speculation as to why there seems to be little said or written by Washington and Madison about the issue of slavery during the Constitutional Convention.

16 Procedures (cont.): Divide the class into 6-8 groups, assigning roles to individuals within each group. One-half of the groups will use the information provided to formulate an interpretation or explanation of why the institution of slavery came to be accepted as part of the Constitution. The other half of the groups will formulate an explanation of the necessity for compromise in the Constitutional Convention on the issue of slavery.

17 Procedures (cont.): Have each group present their findings to the entire class using posters, speeches, panel discussions, or multimedia presentations. Encouraging creativity in presentation of findings will stimulate the focus on perspectives in interpreting historical documents.

18 Assessments: Student note-taking and questions about assigned text/document readings. Small-group presentations – use a rubric or checklist to assess both content and format.

19 Extensions/Enrichments:
Students can research and develop position papers and/or debate the issue of slavery using the positions of the founders discovered during this project. Students can examine the status of slavery and the slave trade after 1815 and speculate on why slavery seemed to be strengthened in the southern states during this time period.

20 Justice Clarence Thomas has been an Associate member of the Court since his contentious but successful Senate confirmation in 1991, replacing Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on the Court and the justice whom Thomas apparently reveres greatly. This might seem paradoxical, given their opposite ideologies. Their important similarities, in fact, become evident, if one learns about the importance Thomas holds for combating racism and for fighting for ideals on one’s own terms in one’s own way.

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