A Deep Stain on the American Character: John Marshall and Justice for Native Americans

In this lesson, students will learn about the actions of John Marshall concerning the Cherokee nation. They will explore how his actions helped to advance justice and, through his example, learn how they can advance justice in their own lives.

Religion in Colonial America

This short video examines impact of Reformed Christianity on the minds and hearts of the Framers of the Constitution. Influenced by the writings of John Locke, Algernon Sydney, and John Calvin, Founders such as George Washington and John Adams believed that religion should play an informal, though important, role in American Society. Professor Jeffry Morrison examines Adams’ contention that colonial fears of British bishops helped to inflame revolutionary sentiments.

Grades 11, 12
Foundations of Democracy
Video

Slavery a Positive Good, John C. Calhoun

John C. Calhoun was a U.S. statesman and spokesman for the slave-plantation system of the South. He explains in this article that slavery gives people more serious opportunities to better themselves because of slaves. This source allows students to examine the supposed justifications for slavery and challenge the assumptions made by slaveowners.

Grades 6-12
Rights and Responsibilities
Primary Sources

John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison and Judicial Review—How the Court Became Supreme

If James Madison was the “father” of the Constitution” John Marshall was the “father of the Supreme Court”—almost single-handedly clarifying its powers. This new lesson is designed to help students understand Marshall’s brilliant strategy in issuing his decision on Marbury v. Madison, the significance of the concept of judicial review, and the language of this watershed case.

The Troubled Elections of 1796 and 1800

George Washington won the first two U.S. presidential elections without being challenged. When he decided not to run for a third term in 1796, intense rivalries, political disputes, and attempted manipulations of the Electoral College came into play. These factors would again affect the 1800 election, essentially a rematch of 1796, pitting a sitting president, John Adams, against his own vice president, Thomas Jefferson.

Grades 8, 9-12
Executive Branch/Presidency
Lesson Plans

The Media and Partisanship

Hear from John Dickerson, a correspondent for 60 minutes, in an interview with Sal as he discusses how partisanship and the media has changed since the founding of the United States.

Grades 6-12
Media Literacy
Media

The Supremacy Clause

Tension between the states and the federal government has been a constant throughout U.S. history. This video explores the supremacy clause in Article VI of the Constitution and key moments in the power struggle, including the landmark case McCulloch v. Maryland. In McCulloch, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that the supremacy clause unequivocally states that the “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States … shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”

Grades 8, 9-12
Foundations of Democracy
Video