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Heroes and Villains

20 Lessons


20 Lessons

Lesson

Douglas MacArthur and Hubris

6 Activities

Students will explore the vice of hubris or pride in a constitutional republic in this lesson on civic virtue.  Students will examine the life of the heroic, but flawed, career of General Douglas MacArthur in World War II and the Korean War. Through a historical narrative, discussion guide, primary sources, and other activities, students will analyze whether MacArthur exhibited the vice of hubris and what effect it might have had on civil-military relations in a constitutional republic.

Lesson

Roger Taney and Injustice: The Dred Scott Decision

5 Activities

Students will explore the vice of injustice in this lesson on civic virtue.  Students will examine Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney and the Dred Scott (1857) decision that instituted great injustice against African Americans by arguing that they cannot be citizens.  This lesson contains a historical narrative, discussion guide, primary sources related to the majority decision and dissents in the Supreme Court case, and activities that guide students through analyzing the effect of injustice on constitutional principles and civil society.

Lesson

John Brown and Self-Deception

6 Activities

Students will explore the vice of self-deception in this lesson on civic virtue.  Students will examine if John Brown deceived himself with self-righteousness by thinking that he could end slavery in the antebellum United States by freeing and arming slaves to launch a racial war in the South.  Students will analyze a historical narrative, discussion guide, primary sources, and other activities to decide whether it is acceptable to break the law based upon one's view of a higher law.

Lesson

Maximilien Robespierre and Political Intolerance

6 Activities

Students will explore the vice of political intolerance in this lesson on civic virtue. Students will examine the role that Robespierre played in the mass murder of the Terror during the French Revolution and how his political intolerance led to a search for "enemies of the state."  Students will analyze a historical narrative, a discussion guide, primary sources, and other activities to understand the destructive influence of political intolerance in the French Republic and in civil society.

Lesson

Aaron Burr and Ambition

5 Activities

Students will explore the vice of ambition in a constitutional republic and civil society in this lesson on civic virtue.  Students will examine the difference between self-serving ambition and noble ambition of great deeds, and then explore the character and career of Aaron Burr who engaged in various machinations to establish an empire out West and was put on trial for treason.  Students will analyze a historical narrative, discussion guide, and various activities to explore the effect of self-serving ambition in a constitutional republic and on civil society.

Lesson

Joseph McCarthy and Demagoguery

5 Activities

Students will explore the vice of demagoguery in a constitutional republic in this lesson on civic virtue.  Students will examine the anti-Communist crusade of Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Cold War in the early 1950s.  Students will analyze a historical narrative, discussion guide, primary sources, and other activities to weigh whether McCarthy was expressing genuine concerns about Communist subversives or just interested in his own power.  Students will examine the effects of demagoguery on a constitutional republic and civil society.

Lesson

The Self-Deception of Irma Grese

6 Activities

Students will explore the vice of self-deception in civil society in this lesson on civic virtue.  Students will examine the life of Nazi Irma Grese who was an ordinary young woman who joined the Nazis and perpetrated great crimes in Auschwitz during the Holocaust.  Students will analyze a historical narrative, discussion guide, photographs, and other activities to try to understand how an ordinary person could have deceived herself to adopt an ideology of hatred through blind obedience and its consequences.

Lesson

General Dwight D. Eisenhower Takes Responsibility for the D-Day Invasion

5 Activities

Students will explore the virtue of responsibility in this lesson on civic virtue.  Students will examine the military decisions that Dwight Eisenhower made on D-Day in World War II and how he took responsibility for his grave decisions of launching the Normandy invasion.  Students will analyze a historical narrative, discussion guide, primary sources, and other activities to explore the virtue of responsibility in a constitutional republic and civil society.

Lesson

Che Guevara and the Injustice of Communism

6 Activities

Students will explore the vice of injustice in this lesson on civic virtue.  Students will examine the revolutionary life of Ernesto "Che" Guevara in establishing a Communist regime in Cuba with Fidel Castro.  Students will analyze a historical narrative, discussion guide, primary sources, and other activities to explore the effect of injustice during the Cuban revolution and under the Communist regime established by Guevara and Castro.