Understanding Contracts

In this lesson, students are asked which of two chocolate bars – one with nuts, one without – they prefer. A single representative is taken from each preference group. These representatives are given the chocolate bar that they prefer less, motivating a contractual trade. One student unknowingly has an empty wrapper, eliciting debate after the trade is completed. The class concludes by discussing possible equitable solutions.

The Slave Trade and the Constitution

This short video examines changing attitudes towards the slave trade in the late 18th century. As early as 1763, there were strong voices in favor of the abolition of international slave trading. At the Constitutional Convention, states from the Deep South refused to support the Constitution without some protection for the slave trade. Professor John Kaminksi describes the convention’s decision to allow congressional action on slavery after 1808 as “the beginning of the end.”

Grades 10, 11, 12
Legislative Branch/Congress

NHD Breaking Barriers: Americans and Native Americans

From the colonial era, relations between European settlers and Native American nations have been complicated. In 1803 Congress authorized and funded an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark for exploration of the region and for better knowledge about American Indians of the Northwest in order to develop trade. About 30 years later, the United States forced the removal of Native Americans from their lands to make way for white American settlement. Congress and the president made treaties with Native American nations, but those treaties were not always respected as the United States continued to expand into the west. After Native Americans enlisted and served in both World War I and World War II, Congress passed legislation to begin to address longstanding Native Americans claims against the United States Government.

The Major Debates at the Constitutional Convention

How the Articles of Confederation failed and delegates met to create a new constitution. The major debates were over representation in Congress, the powers of the president, how to elect the president (Electoral College), slave trade, and a bill of rights. Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Washington.

States, Slavery, and the Constitution

This short video assesses sectional differences at the Convention about slavery. New England delegates saw slavery as a moral issue beyond the scope of their deliberations; representatives from the Middle States were generally opposed to slavery on moral and economic grounds; and Southerners were insistent on protection for both slavery and the slave trade. Professor John Kaminski analyzes how the conflict was resolved by denying Congress any power to regulate the trade until 1808.

Grades 10, 11, 12