Slavery, the Draft Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution

Recommended Grade Level: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Teacher: Dennis Perreault

General Description

Lesson Goals:
Students will be able to understand the difficulty of mediating different perspectives on slavery in revolutionary period America.

Essential Questions:
Why did the language of the Draft Declaration of Independence and the Constitution appear to protect slavery in the United States?

Lesson Plan:
  • Read the attached excerpts from the Draft Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.
  • Students should create a graphic organizer to map what they discover in reading the documents.  The graphic organizer should focus on identify references to slavery and student’s interpretations of those references
  • Review the graphic organizer as a class, and engage in discussion as a class focusing on the question of whether or not slavery was being protected by the draft of the declaration and the constitution.

Assessment:
Students should complete an essay in which they offer an explanation as to why the language of the Draft Declaration of Independence and the Constitution appear to protect slavery in the United States of America prior to the start of the Civil War.  Students should draw upon notes from the graphic organizer as well as any notes on the ideas generated in the class discussion.  Encourage students to use the excerpts from the document to illustrate and prove their thesis.

Materials and Documents

Quote
This workshop was fabulous. I really needed ways to incorporate social studies into what I already do (English/Language Arts;) I feel I accomplished this here. The presenters were awesome.
- Teacher
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