It’s pretty obvious that the young United States needed a new government in 1787, isn’t it? (If not, please review the AOC again!) After a few smaller meetings took place to set the stage, a meeting of members of all (almost all) 13 states was scheduled for May of 1787 in beautiful Philadelphia. The resulting document will be the longest lasting written form of government still in use today – the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.
This amazing meeting in Philadelphia will become an integral part of America’s story, and one that we will learn about over the next few activities. 55 men met in the Pennsylvania State House that long, hot summer, creating a framework of government that has lasted (with a few changes) until today – and you will play one of them (actually, parts of many of them)!
In our “Convention”, you will be representing a delegate to the Federal Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Your role below is really an amalgamation (ooh, cool word) of the participants in the three-month meeting, and your goal is to represent their opinions, examine the arguments and compromises made at the convention, and understand why the writing of the Constitution has been called “A Miracle in Philadelphia”.
This amazing meeting in Philadelphia will become an integral part of America’s story, and one that we will learn about over the next few activities. 55 men met in the Pennsylvania State House that long, hot summer, creating a framework of government that has lasted (with a few changes) until today. For our next class, your tasks are …
CONTEXT – To prepare for the Convention, your first task is to find out more about the events and ideas that led to the momentous meeting in the summer of ’87. Listen to The Calling of the Convention podcast (you can read it too) and check out the Life in 1787 handout (kinda cool info) to provide CONTEXT and set the stage for the events of the Convention. Your learning target is I can describe the events and issues leading to the Constitutional Convention. This should be done FOR OUR NEXT CLASS.
IDEAS – The 55 men that spent the summer of 1787 in Philly came with many of their own ideas – but they were also influenced by many individuals, events, documents, and concepts from the previous millennia. Your target is I can illustrate and explain the ideas that influenced the Framers of the Constitution. To examine these ideas, complete some sort of illustrated notes that summarize the 6 major ideas that influenced the Framers of the Constitution. You can make sketchnotes, digital notes, flash cards, an annotate collage – you name it – just make sure you have the MOST IMPORTANT concept(s) from each idea and illustrations to support your understanding. on the major ideas that influenced the Framers of the Constitution.
The terms/ideas are the Roman Republic, Cincinnatus and civic virtue, the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact, the English Bill of Rights, and Montesquieu and separation of powers. This should be done AFTER OUR NEXT CLASS. I would also love for you to write the learning target on your work as well!
I think a ballpark time of five minutes on each is pretty decent. These are all covered in a voicethread, also available below, but you could use other resources if you want. The VT is the easiest … but it has Taft’s boring voice, and it’s a bit old.
CONVENTION PREP –In our next class, we will be experiencing some of the major arguments and debates of the long hot summer in the “City of Brotherly Love”. You will be in a smaller group, discussing the major arguments of many of the great delegates and then coming to conclusions about the compromises that were made. To be ready for action, carefully look at the perspectives of your composite delegate (sorta like a Constitutional Frankenstein) so you have a decent idea of the topics of discussion! You should have the perspectives in your own words as well, and understand the basics about each of your positions. Remember, you are a combination of views. This should be done FOR OUR NEXT CLASS.