Champions of Freedom – The Founders eLesson
James Madison said the Constitution was “the work of many heads and many hands.” The same is true of the First Amendment. This lesson will introduce students to the views and contributions of three Founders: Thomas Jefferson, whose writings form the backbone of many Founding documents; George Mason, who was one of only three delegates to the Constitutional Convention who refused to sign the document; and James Madison, who guided the Bill of Rights through Congress. Finally, students will apply the freedoms protected by the First Amendment to their own lives.
[Thomas Jefferson] was …a “walking Library,” and …the Genius of Philosophy ever walked hand in hand with him.
George Mason it was who first gave concrete expression to those inalienable human rights that belong to every American citizen and that are today the bedrock of our democracy….
–PRESIDENT HARRY TRUMAN–
- Understand the rights protected by the First Amendment.
- Understand why Mason and Jefferson demanded a bill of rights be added to the Constitution.
- Assess the contributions to the First Amendment by Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and James Madison.
- Appreciate the contributions to their country made by Jefferson, Mason, and Madison.
Student Handout (PDF)