Religion and the Argument for American Independence - Lesson 2

WEB LESSON How did religion affect arguments justifying American independence? American Protestants had fled religious and political oppression in the seventeenth century. In the 1760s and 1770s, they called upon that tradition of dissent to cry out against what they considered to be British tyranny. Using primary documents, students look at how the American revolutionaries employed religion in their arguments for independence. MS-HS

Religion and the Fight for American Independence

WEB LESSON Religion offered many American revolutionaries moral approval of their opposition to British rule. Not all religious sects or religious believers, however, supported the Revolutionary War. Using primary documents, this lesson explores how religion aided and hindered the American war effort. MS-HS

Liberty vs. Slavery: New Jersey's Quakers and the American Revolution

WEB LESSON While many Quakers owned slaves prior to the American Revolution, the Quakers passed a rule in 1758 forbidding their members to buy or sell slaves. This lesson examines how the Quakers' religious views influenced their opposition to slavery during the Revolutionary period. Students are asked to analyze a series of primary sources to identify the reasoning behind the Quaker's anti-slavery stance. MS - HS

Onward Christian Soldiers

WEB LESSON In this New York Times lesson, students analyze documents written by the Founding Fathers of the United States to better understand and discuss their views on the role of religion in the U.S. government. They then write a position paper in the voice of a Founding Father discussing the suit against the U.S. Army brought by an atheist soldier. MS-HS

Interactive Constitution: The First Amendment Establishment Claus

WEB LESSON The goal of this lesson is for students to gain a deeper understanding of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. They will do this by understanding the history of the clause, as well as the relevant Supreme Court cases that will help students interpret how this clause has been applied.

How the First State Constitutions Helped Build the US Constitution

WEB LESSON & READING Scroll to the 3rd article. This article in CRF's Bill of Rights in Action for Fall 2013 focuses on state constitutions written during the American Revolution. The activity at the end of the article asks students to rank the states in respect to the restrictiveness of religious tests for public office and discuss the option of religious tests today.

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: The Road to the First Amendment

ARTICLE & LESSON This Constitutional Rights Foundation article and lesson from 2010 emphasizes the importance of state legislation in the gradual development of the liberties protected by the First Amendment. This one shows the controversy in Virginia over state support of religion advocated by Patrick Henry and the idea of the separation of church and state advocated by Jefferson and Madison.

George Washington and Religious Freedom

WEB LESSONS This Utah Education Network lesson plan asks students to analyze two primary sources, in the form of letters, that address the issues relating to religious freedom for the newly formed United States and its relation to the nature of citizenship and equality in a religiously diverse society. Students also analyze the First Amendment religion clauses and develop an argument regarding First Amendment issues today. MS-HS

First Amendment

WEB LESSON This First Amendment Project by the National Constitution Center begins with the introduction of the First Amendment and the understanding of "Freedom of Conscience." Scroll past the video classes being offered to the primary source material and lessons below. The associated classroom materials engage students in examining primary sources that record the development of the First Amendment. In subsequent lessons, students will focus in-depth on the individual clauses of the amendment. MS - HS

James Madison and the Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights was not a sure thing when James Madison introduced his amendments to the Constitution at the First Congress. In this lesson, students learn about different versions of the First Amendment that were debated at the Constitutional Convention and, in a simulation activity, determine which version they would want in the Bill of Rights. MS - HS

Freedom of Religion - Lesson Plan

WEB LESSON In this Annenberg lesson material students learn the elements of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. These students then set up a presentation in the format of a "mock trial before the Supreme Court.