Not a Treasure Map!

Target Audience: 10th Graders: Introduction to U.S. History Class

Lesson Content: In this lesson students will observe three historical documents from different timelines of the U.S. One question or topic you could note is slavery during this era. How did slavery before and after play a role in American history and what does independence have to do with slavery

In this class, we will observe three historical documents from the origin of the United States of America:

The Declaration of Independence,

The U.S. Constitutional Amendments

And the Emancipation Proclamation

I advise you to throughly skim the text and think about these guiding questions:

  1. Why were these documents written?
  2. What would happen if these documents did not materialize?
  3. What is the message of the text?

Don’t just read the text. Imagine that you are present during these times. Think about the setting: the place and the year. What is the stance on each of the people that sign the document? And look at the words and how is it different from today’s language

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Teacher’s Guide: Using these documents make some connections with these texts.

  1. One of these documents was written so that the United States would become an independent state and that no one else would have claims to it
  2. If non of these texts would materialize, then the United States would still be a dependent state. The British would still have control of it and who knows what would it be today

6 Replies to “Not a Treasure Map!”

  1. Hi Cris,
    I like your question about what would happen if these documents did not appear when/how they did or did not appear at all. I think this challenges students to relate these documents to their own lives and think about what would be different for them today if these documents had not been written, which gets them thinking about cause and effect too. I would be curious to see your “Teacher’s Guide” on what you would expect student answers to be like in regards to the Emancipation Proclamation since that document came almost 100 years after the Declaration of Independence and constitution.

  2. Hey Cris,

    I like this, especially as a way to see how philosophies have evolved over time. I think it may be a lot to look at all of these documents in their entirety and think about the individual stance of each person involved. I think to make it more manageable I would consider narrowing your scope. Since you use the Emancipation Proclamation, you could look at how slavery and citizenship is addressed in each, or what the role of the government should be in determining or protecting individual rights. Just a thought.

    1. I agree the scope is very broad. All three docs had very different audience and purpose. I like Tyler’s idea to narrow with a theme – for example slavery.

  3. I have made some replies to Maggie and Tyler’s comments. This lesson could benefit from some editing of content. Focus on sections of each of the documents and help students make a connection.

    Also the lesson calls for some items that are not in your post:
    – Target student group. Grade, course.
    – Lesson context
    – “Teacher’s guide” to what you would expect for student answers.

    1. Thank you Professor, Maggie, and Tyler! So I decided to narrow down the subject and go more in-depth of slavery on how it made an impact on American History.

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