Why Government? (Lesson Plan)

Students take a look at two political thinkers that spent a lot of time trying to answer the question, “Why Government?” – Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. This lesson combines our Influence Library entries on these men and adds activities that ask students to compare and contrast Hobbes and Locke and to think about how these philosophers influenced those that followed in their footsteps. This lesson is one in a series entitled “Foundations of Government.”

Grades 6, 7, 8
Foundations of Democracy
Lesson Plans

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

Teaching Federalist #1

This lesson provides students an opportunity to use primary source documents as they examine the philosophical origins of the natural rights philosophy of consent using Federalist # 1. It also uses John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government and the Mayflower Compact. The idea is to show how consent and choice are enlightenment ideas for government a nd could be done in America. This gave America a pragmatic view of the Enlightenment rather than an ideological view.

Grades 7-12
Foundations of Democracy
Books

Documents of Freedom: History, Government, and Economics Through Primary Sources

This complete online textbook covers American history, government, and economic concepts. Resources include readings for students, activity directions for teachers, and handouts that are downloadable and printable for classroom use. Content is geared toward students in grades 8-12. All materials are aligned with Common Core and individual state standards.

Grades 8, 9, 10, 12
Foundations of Democracy
Assessments

Preserving the Bill of Rights – Property Unit eLesson

While most people think of property as land or a dwelling, the term has much more constitutional significance and touches almost every aspect of citizens’ lives. The Founders, influenced by English philosopher John Locke, believed property rights in one’s body and person to be the root of all rights – rights that governments are established to protect.

Grades 9, 10, 11
Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
Lesson Plans