Magna Carta: Cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution

Magna Carta served to lay the foundation for later declarations of rights in England and the United States. In attempting to establish checks on the king’s powers, this document asserted the right of “due process” of law. It also provided the basis for an idea of a “higher law,” one that could not be altered either by executive mandate or legislative acts. This concept, embraced by the leaders of the American Revolution, is embedded in the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution.

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

The Constitution in Action: Strict vs. Loose Construction

History is the chronicle of choices made by actors/agents/protagonists in specific contexts. This simulation places students in the Early Republic and asks them to engage with questions of Constitutional interpretation faced by President Washington and the First Federal Congress. Did the Constitution empower Congress to charter a national bank? Finance and maintain lighthouses? Regulate working conditions of merchant seamen? Support higher education?

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

Ricci v. DeStefano (2009)

Can an employer reject the results of an employment test because one racial group scored substantially higher than others? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered this question in 2009.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12