Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience is an active refusal to obey specific demands or laws of a government. Throughout the history of the United States, many Americans have employed civil disobedience as a form of political activism in order to change society. The Bill of Rights Institute provides lessons and historical examples of the origins and instances of this movement in American history.

  • Resource Type: Books, Editorial Cartoons, ESL Appropriate, ESL Materials, Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Photography, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

César Chávez Collection

On March 31, we celebrate César Chávez Day. Chávez, a civil rights and labor activist, co-founded the United Farm Workers Union and used nonviolent protests to fight for the rights of laborers. The Share My Lesson team has identified lesson plans and resources you can use in your classes to help teach your students about César Chávez.

  • Resource Type: Audio, Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Sisters of Suffrage: British and American Women Fight for the Vote

The dominant narrative of the entire women’s suffrage movement begins and ends with the United States and Britain. Hundreds of thousands of women petitioned, canvassed, lobbied, demonstrated, engaged in mass civil disobedience, went to jail, and engaged in hunger strikes in a seventy-five-year ongoing political and social struggle for the right to vote.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Westward Expansion Before the Civil War (CKHG Unit)

The unit explores the westward movement of Americans in the nineteenth century: the early explorers, effects of new developments in transportation, Native American resistance to settlers, and the treaties broken by government officials. Across 10 lessons, students explore the use of Manifest Destiny to promote the acquisition of US territory, the annexation of Texas, the Oregon Trail, and the California gold rush.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

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

Building Constituencies

This lesson introduces students to the importance of building a constituency to support or oppose public policies using the case study of the Montgomery Bus Boycott as an example. First, students read primary documents from the boycott and discuss how the documents show how leaders tried to build support. Then in small groups, students brainstorm how they can get support for their Civic Action Project issue. Registration is required.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Law-Abidingness: Reading Guide for “A Jury of Her Peers”

Does our obligation to uphold the law admit of exceptions? Debate the elementary civic virtue of law-abidingness and the appropriateness of civil disobedience as editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub discuss Susan Glaspell’s story with Christopher DeMuth. Includes discussion guide and model conversation. Common Core-aligned.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12