The Language of Religious Liberty


One of our challenges as Social Studies educators is helping our students understand change over time. Vocabulary can add to the challenge—not only for struggling readers, but also because the meanings of words themselves often change over time, too!

We’ve appreciated feedback from many of you that key terms and vocabulary resources would be useful. We’re listening! This week’s eLesson provides you with a Glossary of key terms related to Religious Liberty, as well as some discussion questions to go along with them.

Glossary of Terms (PDF)

How to use this Lesson

Conduct a large group discussion to answer the questions:

  • How does the 18th Century term “toleration” differ from our definition today of “tolerance”
  • Are there other terms whose definitions have evolved?
  • Why is it important to understand both terms in context?

Distribute blank versions of individual terms in the glossary, and have students work in groups to compose definitions. Then hand out the completed version and compare definitions.

Have students suggest additional terms/meanings that could go in this resource.

You can use this Glossary resource anytime you are teaching concepts related to religious liberty, whether you own the curriculum or not!