Establishment of Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities:
As a class we will explore the establishment of citizens' rights and responsibilities in the United States. We will take a look at the U.S. Constitution. Through an analysis of this document we will gain a firm understanding of the rights and responsibilities that are guaranteed. After we understand our rights and responsibilities as citizens can we explore how our rights have been denied throughout history.
To begin our study we will view the following video, "A Promise of Freedom: An Introduction to U.S. History and Civics for Immigrants." This video was created to give immigrants a brief introduction to U.S. History. The short video will provide information about the history and founding of our nation and the important rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens.
Here are a few key details / notes from the video:
1700s European Settlers came for religious freedom and the start of a new life. The formed the 13 colonies and were ruled by Great Britain. The colonists were allowed some self-government. Later, Britain made demands upon the colonists. They decided to break from Great Britain after they were taxed unfairly. The colonists established their lives and built communities. They sought the right to govern themselves.
1776 - Declaration of Independence - Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of this document. This document established the colonies freedom and independence from Britain. In this document, men were declared equal, given life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Over time the idea of equal rights would include all people. There were 56 signers on this document, 8 of them were immigrants.
1775 - 1783 American Revolution - the 8 year battle between the colonists and Great Britain. George Washington commanded the colonists who fought for their independence. At the end of the war, the US was now made up of 13 independent states under the Articles of Confederation.
1787 - Philadelphia Convention - for 3 and half long months men worked to create a Constitution that would last. The creators of this document wanted to make sure that the power of the government comes from the people. They wanted to develop a government was limited. They knew that they didn't want a king or an emperor, they wanted to divide the power. They formed a national government that consisted of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. It was important for citizens to vote for their representatives.
Bill of Rights - This is the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. These amendments established the basic rights of citizens.
Now that we have the background information, it is time to take a look at the US Constitution.
What can we gain by looking at the U.S. Constitution?
- Understand how our government is structured
- Understand the rights and responsibilities guaranteed to U.S. citizens