Unit 1 constitutional principles august 28 2012
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Unit 1: Constitutional Principles August 28, 2012. Outcomes: SWBAT define representative democracy and describe early examples of self-government in colonial US history. Business. Agenda Do Now Business Do Now Review Agree/Disagree Lecture: Government in colonial America

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Unit 1: Constitutional Principles August 28, 2012

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Unit 1: Constitutional PrinciplesAugust 28, 2012

Outcomes: SWBAT define representative democracy and describe early examples of self-government in colonial US history.


  • Agenda

    • Do Now

    • Business

    • Do Now Review

    • Agree/Disagree

    • Lecture: Government in colonial America

    • Reading with a purpose

    • Closing

  • Homework:

    • Illustrate identification definitions

Do Now Review

Do Now: What does it mean to be “American”? What beliefs, actions or traditions do you associate with the term?

Essential Question

How perfect is the “more perfect union”?

Is America capable of living up to the ideals included in the founding documents?

Do we value our values?

Agree or Disagree?

  • It is absolutely safe to say whatever you want, whenever you want

Agree or Disagree?

  • Our legal system, including police, are fair

Agree or Disagree?

  • American government and religion are completely separate

Agree or Disagree?

  • The American people have control over their government

Unit 1: Constitutional Principles

  • A More Perfect Union?

  • To what extent have Americans lived up to the promises made by the writers of the Constitution?

Representative Democracy Simulation

  • What is the difference between representative democracy and representative democracy? Why are most decisions in America made through representative democracy? What are the potential problems with representative democracy?

Reading Activity: Use the secondary source reading provided to fill out the graphic organizer below, looking for each event’s EFFECT ON US GOVERNMENT.

Reading with a purpose

  • The Colonial Roots of America's Founding Ideals

  • Before the United States became the United States, it was a group of colonies that belonged to Great Britain. Great Britain was a monarchy, and, until 1215, the king made many of the decisions for both England, and his colonies throughout the world. In 1215, King John and his rebellious barons signed an agreement called the Magna Carta, or Great Charter. This agreement listed rights granted by the king to "all freemen of our country." Some of these right established a system of justice based on due process of law. According to due process, a government cannot deprive a person of their life, liberty, or property, except according to rules established by law. The king also agreed to share power with the legislature, a group of people chosen to make laws. This group was called Parliament. The Magna Carta further established that the people could not be taxed except by their representatives in a legislature and that the king was not above the law. Decades later, these ideas would shape the colonists' ideas about government.

Reading with a purpose

The Mayflower Compact

In 1620, a group of 102 passengers were gathered on the Mayflower, a small ship which had just made the voyage from England to the east coast of America. Their ship had traveled far off course, taking them to Massachusetts; a place where they would be starting a brand new colony. The group was made up of a number of people who were seeking religious freedom. Others, however, had left England for economic reasons. They began to disagree about what the colony should look like when they arrived.

Fearing that a revolt would destroy the colony before it began, the leaders drew up and agreement known as the Mayflower Compact. The passengers agreed to live in a "civil body politic." They also agreed to obey "just and equal Laws," enacted by representatives of their choosing. This was the first written framework for self-government in what would eventually become the United States.

The Right to Self-Government

Over time, each colony elected a legislature. One of the first was Virginia's House of Burgesses, formed in 1620. Although the House of Burgesses reflected the colonists' belief in self-government, power was limited to certain people. Only white, male landowners could elect representatives. In many colonies, a person had to own a certain amount of property to vote.

Reading with a purpose: Our purpose today is to describe the Mayflower Compact and Virginia House of Burgesses, as well as to describe why they were so important to US History. As you read, underline any clues that will help you answer our purpose. Then, fill out the organizer.

Closing: Earlier we discussed the pros and cons of representative democracy. Using at least two points from your classwork, define representative democracy, give two examples of early representative democracies, and explain the reasons why Americans fought so hard to establish representative democracies in colonial America.

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