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

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

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

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

The Story of the Bill of Rights

This documentary tells the story of these individual freedoms that often are taken for granted today. But in 1787, when they were first discussed at the Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers rejected them. Why were these rights controversial then? The full story about these rights, including what they say and what they mean, is explained. Ten short videos examine each of the amendments in the Bill of Rights.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, ESL Appropriate, ESL Materials, Special Needs/Language Focus, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Creation of the Bill of Rights: “Retouching the Canvas”

This lesson will focus on the arguments either for or against the addition of a Bill of Rights between 1787 and 1789. By examining the views of prominent Americans in original documents, students will see that the issue at the heart of the debate was whether a Bill of Rights was necessary to secure and fulfill the objects of the American Revolution and the principles of the Declaration of Independence. Students will also gain an understanding of the origins of the Bill of Rights and how it came to be part of what Thomas Jefferson called “the American mind,” as well as a greater awareness of the difficulties that proponents had to overcome in order to add the first ten Amendments to the Constitution.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12