The U.S. Constitution: “I Smelt a Rat”
Introduction to Case:
When students learn about the Constitutional Convention, they may learn about the compromises that occurred, but may not understand how controversial the actions of the delegates were at the time. It could be argued that the delegates committed treason and literally created an entirely new form of government without the authority to do so. The lack of protections for personal liberty led members of the "Revolutionary generation" like Patrick Henry to voice strong opposition. In fact, the ratification of the Constitution by the states was certainly no sure thing. In this case, students will explore reasons that some people opposed the Constitution during the ratification process and consider the need for the Bill of Rights.
This case was developed with support from the Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources Program, Eastern Region hosted at Waynesburg State University.
NCSS Theme II: Time, Continuity and Change
Focus on reading and reconstructing the past to:
1. include various perspectives on historical events;
2.draw upon historical knowledge during the examination of social issues;
3. develop the habits of mind that historians and scholars employ.
National Center for History in the Schools
Standard 2: Historical Comprehension
Standard 3: Historical Analysis and Interpretation
Standard 4: Historical Research Capabilities
Standard 5: Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision-Making
In addition to the core case offered here, the Library of Congress hosts an amazing collection of resources on the Constitutional Convention. Some of the collection's resources include a wonderful set of Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constituational Convention, 1774-1789, the papers of George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson. The Creation of the United States Constitution exhibit provides a rich context of the times leading up to the convention, ratification, and legacy of the Constitution. Finally, a Primary Source Set has been created for the Constitution that brings together a variety of interesting documents related to the Constitution.
Becoming a Detective
The painting, “Signing of the Constitution,” hangs in the House wing of the east stairway at the United States Capitol. Most likely, this image is in your civics textbook. Indeed, it is this rendering that seems to define the creation of our country’s Constitution.
Digital ID: ppmsc 00181 Source: b&w film copy neg. LC-USA7-34630 Reproduction Number: LC-USA7-34630 (b&w film copy neg.) , LC-USA7-575 (b&w film copy neg.) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Retrieve uncompressed archival TIFF version (6 megabytes)
Commissioned in 1939, Howard Chandler Christy was paid $30,000 to render an “accurate” depiction of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Using techniques of light...