Grade 6-8 Peter Prejudice’s Breeches: An Anti-Federalist Perspective

A complement to a lesson covering the Federalists and their influence over the Constitutional Convention, this lesson is intended to help students understand the Anti-Federalist perspective. By the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to explain the differences between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Students will be able to assess and sort both perspectives and identify the importance of Anti-Federalist views in shaping the Constitution as we know it.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Lesson 1: Anti-federalist Arguments Against “A Complete Consolidation”

This lesson focuses on the chief objections of the Anti-federalists, especially The Federal Farmer (Richard Henry Lee), Centinel, and Brutus, regarding the extended republic. Students will become familiar with the larger issues surrounding this debate, including the nature of the American Union, the difficulties of uniting such a vast territory with a diverse multitude of regional interests, and the challenges of maintaining a free republic as the American people moved toward becoming a nation.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Federalist and Anti-Federalist Guided Reading

The debate between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists over the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, 1787-1788 using primary sources. Students will be reading primary sources from our Founding times, centrally the philosophical and practical debates over the United States Constitution.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Essays, Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Ratifying the Constitution

This lesson introduces students to the vigorous debates between the Federalist and the Anti-Federalists surrounding the ratification of the Constitution that took place in the state conventions.

In the state ratification conventions, delegates argued the wisdom of adopting the Constitution. Elected specifically to serve in these conventions, they came from a range of backgrounds, from the very elite and highly educated, to those of humbler birth and station. State delegates grappled with questions about the nature of democracy, the distribution of wealth and power in society, the rights of individuals and minority groups, and the role of dissent in a republic.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Extending Suffrage to Women

In this activity, students will analyze documents pertaining to the women’s suffrage movement as it intensified following passage of the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed the right to vote for African American males. Documents were chosen to call attention to the struggle’s length, the movement’s techniques, and the variety of arguments for and against giving women the vote.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Schenck v. U.S. (1919)

Did Schenck’s conviction under the Espionage Act for criticizing the draft violate his First Amendment free speech rights? Schneck was convicted for distributing anti-draft leaflets because the leaflets allegedly caused insubordination.

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Vietnam War Lesson Guide

Explore classroom lesson plans related to Ken Burns’s and Lynn Novick’s 10-part, 18-hour documentary series, The Vietnam War, which tells the story of one of the most consequential, divisive and controversial events in American history. The series explores the human dimensions of the war through the testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides.

  • Resource Type: Audio, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Oral Histories, Photography, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12