The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 changed American history. It provided that new states shared coequal status with the original thirteen states. It set out the process for territories to become states and it was the first and only federal anti-slavery policy pre- Civil War. While the Ordinance also established the orderly westward expansion it did so at the expense of Native Americans already living in the territory.
Constitutional Rights Foundation
Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) seeks to instill in our nation’s youth a deeper understanding of citizenship through values expressed in our Constitution and Bill of Rights and to educate young people to become active and responsible participants in our society. CRF is dedicated to assuring our country’s future by investing in our youth today.
According to many scholars, modern liberal democracy has advanced in waves. But liberal democracy has also had its setbacks. Some argue that it is in trouble in the world today, and that the young millennial generation is losing faith in it.
Controversial legal and policy issues, as they are discussed in the public arena, often lead to polarization, not understanding. This Civil Conversation activity offers an alternative. In this structured discussion method, under the guidance of a facilitator, participants are encouraged to engage intellectually with challenging materials, gain insight about their own point of view, and strive for a shared understanding of issues. This lesson plan addresses the debate over the policies of the federal agency – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – that investigates and enforces the nation’s immigration laws.
Google Cultural Institute exhibit by Constitutional Rights Foundation & Barat Education Foundation’s Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program. Long before the pilgrims landed, voting and elections were taking place in America. For example, the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, a powerful alliance of Native American tribes who inhabited territory west of the Colonies, had established a system of representative government sometime around 1500 that lasted until the Revolutionary War. Women played a prominent role in choosing its political leaders.
The actual right of habeas corpus is not stated anywhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The authors of these documents apparently believed that habeas corpus was such a fundamental liberty that it needed no further guarantee in writing. The only mention of the writ of habeas corpus in the Constitution relates to when it can be taken away from judges. On September 24, 1862, Lincoln issued a proclamation unprecedented in American history. He suspended the writ of liberty everywhere in the United States.
In this lesson, students are introduced to the three functions of government (legislative, judicial, and executive) through a story about an overworked king who must handle all the tasks of government. Next, students are given descriptions of the three functions of government and asked to match tasks to departments (lawmakers, executives, and judges). Finally, students create job descriptions for lawmakers, executives, and judges.
In 1848, a small group of visionaries started a movement to secure equal rights for women in the United States. But it took more than 70 years just to win the right for women to vote.
The judiciary asserted its independence and power when John Marshall became the U.S. Supreme Court’s fourth Chief Justice in 1801.
James Madison worked hard to get the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom passed. His main opponent was Patrick Henry, who offered a counter bill. Henry delivered a series of speeches in favor of his bill. They were so powerful that they prompted Madison to write his “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments,” which met widespread approval and led to the Legislature passing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
At first, our nation’s founders—including Hamilton, Jefferson, and others—believed political parties were evil and a threat to the new nation. But these early American leaders soon began to invent a new and essential role for political parties in a democracy.