Enlightenment and the Rise of Democratic Ideas Caroline Kublin EDSC 307 History-Social Science Content Standard 11.1
The American Revolution Lasted from 1775–1783 The 13 colonies joined together to defend their respective self-governance and manage the armed conflict against the British to gain independence Lead to the formation of the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence Adopted on July 4, 1776 Announced that the thirteen American colonies were now independent states and no longer a part of the British Empire Written by Thomas Jefferson “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words are the influence of the Enlightenment Period. What do these words mean to you?
Articles of Confederation Established in 1781 The first “constitution” of the United States The Articles set the rules for making war and negotiating diplomatic agreements, and “the Union shall be perpetual.” George Washington and Alexander Hamilton felt that the Articles lacked the necessary provisions for a sufficiently effective government. – There was no president or executive agencies or judiciary – There was no tax base. – There was no way to pay off state and national debts In 1788, with the approval of Congress, the Articles were replaced by the United States Constitution and the new government began operations in 1789.
The Constitution Adopted 1787 The supreme law of the United States and is the framework for the organization of its government. It defines the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States. The Constitution has been amended twenty- seven times; the first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.
Where did the ideas come from that lead to the formation of the Bill of Rights? The English Bill of Rights (1689) was an inspiration for the American Bill of Rights. The focus is on religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly. The right to bear arms, protection against double jeopardy, and protection against self- incrimination. Rights reserved to the States.
ACTIVITY Get into small groups (4 people) to a group and create your own Bill of Rights. Answer the following questions: – What rights are important to you and why? Write them down. – What influences your decision on what is important? Past experience, family heritage, etc. – Vote for one person from the group to read these rights to the class. What influenced your decision to vote for them to present? Stay in small groups and discuss the following questions presented in the power point. Put your ideas in the KWL handout.
Importance/Contributions/Value of the Influence of the Enlightenment Period What do think the impact of these documents have upon our lives today? Some examples are the right to vote, own property, choice of profession, right to an education…
What if a different kind of government was established – socialist or communist? More revolutions? More discontent? Extreme poverty and extreme wealth? Elimination of the “middle class?” Other ideas?
What could the next step be in our democratic process of government? Should non-native born citizens be eligible for the presidency? Should bicameralism give way to tri- cameralism or quad-cameralism? Expansion of the 2-party system and give other parties an opportunity at the presidency? Right of citizens extended to non-citizens? Other thoughts?
Conclusion What do you think is the most important aspect of our democratic society? Which document encapsulates that and why? Where do you think we will be in another 200 years?
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