Rule of law is a founding principle of the United States and a bedrock of democracy. It ensures that no one is above the law, that laws are publicly and widely known, that laws apply equally to all and are equally enforced, and that disputes are settled by an independent judiciary. This textbook definition is in contrast with many Americans’ lived experiences. For some people in the United States, particularly the most marginalized, rule of law has always been in crisis. Though the term “rule of law” may rarely be mentioned in state standards, its concepts are embedded in many social studies courses. Fundamental rights, limiting and balancing government power, and an open and transparent government are just a few of these concepts. These Street Law-designed lessons and resources are designed for flexibility and ease of use. The seven core lessons have been designed with middle and high school social studies teachers in mind, for courses ranging from U.S. history to civics and law to global studies. The eight lessons are: Introduction to Rule of Law; Controlling Corruption and Abuse of Power; Open and Transparent Government; Fair and Effective Court System; Fundamental Rights; Peace and Stability; Limiting and Balancing Government Power; and the Culminating Activity: Addressing a Rule of Law Change in My Community.
Judges on Judging Podcast
This six-part podcast series, hosted by The Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, a federal judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, explores the role of judges and courts in our democracy, as well as the importance of a Fair and Impartial Judiciary. The podcasts, which include discussions among jurists regarding current cases and legal issues, are made possible through a partnership between the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement.
Teaching Students About International Politics
The world has become increasingly more connected, and with this inter-connectedness it is of even more importance that students gain a deeper understanding of global issues and the role of diplomacy. Share My Lesson has specially curated this collection of resources to help educators teach students about past and present U.S. foreign policies, how foreign policy is developed, the crisis in Ukraine, how international organizations are created and governed, the creation of international law, various international conflicts, and other forms of government in the world.
NATO, Russia and Ukraine
How do alliances shape international relations? In February 2022, the Russian Federation, led by its authoritarian president Vladimir Putin, launched a significant invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Putin justified this in part by claiming that Ukraine’s desire to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, threatened Russian security. So what is NATO, and why would Russia see it as a potential threat?
C-SPAN Videos on the Ukraine Conflict
Help keep your students informed about the Ukraine conflict with this collection of videos. Then have your students reflect on each video clip they watch with our Primary Source Current Event Video Analysis Handout.
How the Military Response to 9/11 Led to Two Decades of War in Afghanistan
This 12-minute video and lesson plan examine how within weeks of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to attack Taliban strongholds. By the end of the year, the mission’s main goal was accomplished. But shifting objectives led to the expansion of a war that became the longest in U.S. history, and is ending in chaos. This lesson asks students to engage in a “Structured Academic Controversy.” The goal of the activity is for students to analyze sources, classify arguments, and engage in discussion.
Reapportionment and Redistricting
The United States conducts a constitutionally mandated census every 10 years. This count has numerous effects, and one of the most important is its impact on our representative democracy. Reapportionment and redistricting, in turn, affect how and by whom the people are represented.
Judges on Judging Podcast
This six-part podcast, hosted by The Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, a federal judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, explores the role of judges and courts in our democracy, as well as the importance of a Fair and Impartial Judiciary. The podcasts include discussions among jurists regarding current cases and legal issues.
The Rule of Law and Public Health: A Socratic Seminar
For this high school Socratic Seminar, students will be asked to examine various readings and videos on public health and the rule of law and then explore the question “What role does the law play in protecting our health?” Encourage students to be prepared, participate actively, use evidence, listen carefully, and ask thoughtful questions of their peers throughout the seminar. There are resources to explore several public health examples (e.g., clean water, coal dust, COVID-19) included in this seminar guide, so feel free to select one or more, and adapt to your needs.
C-SPAN’s Impeachment Site
This site contains resources to help you teach about the historical and constitutional background of Congress’ impeachment power. You will find coverage and featured clips of the second impeachment and Senate trial of President Donald Trump; lessons on Congress’ role and history of impeachment; and Bell Ringers on the impeachment of Presidents Bill Clinton and