Religious Liberty: An American Experiment8 Lessons
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Two Views of Religious Liberty: Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island
In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the roles John Winthrop and Roger Williams played in American history. They will also compare and contrast competing models of religious liberty in the Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island colonies and assess the significance of each model to the American experiment in religious liberty.
The Constitution, the First Amendment, and Religious Liberty
In this lesson, students will learn how leading Founders and religious dissenters contributed to religious liberty in America. Students will analyze primary source documents concerning the relationship between church and state, assess arguments for and against an established religion and a public role for religion in civic life and gain an appreciation for the philosophical and political process of the American experiment in religious liberty.
From Toleration to Liberty: George Washington and the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island
In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of religious liberty from the colonial period to the Founding era. They will assess legal and historical documents of toleration and/or liberty, analyze George Washington's 1790 Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, and gain an appreciation of Washington's letter as an example of the shift from religious toleration to religious liberty.
First Amendment Principles and Jefferson’s “Wall”
In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of how the Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment changed in light of the Fourteenth Amendment. They will also analyze Thomas Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, evaluate the Supreme Court's application of Jefferson's metaphor about the wall of separation between church and state, and assess how much weight should be given to Jefferson's letter in determining the constitutionality of state action with respect to religion.
Religious Liberty and the Supreme Court
In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of how the doctrine of incorporation broadened the application of the First Amendment. They will also gain an understanding of the facts of landmark Establishment Clause Supreme Court cases, evaluate arguments about the scope of the Establishment Clause, and assess the Supreme Court's interpretations of the First Amendment with respect to religion in public schools.
Two Views of the Relationship of Church and State
In this lesson, students will explore the views of the founders concerning the relationship between Church and State. They will examine quotes from the founders regarding the relationship of Church and State, as well as analyze excerpts from primary source documents concerning this relationship.
Religious Toleration and Religious Liberty
In this lesson, students will explore the evolution in the United States from religious toleration to religious liberty. Students will examine the difference between the two, analyze documents concerning both, and evaluate the significance of this change.
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2013)
In this lesson, students will study the Supreme Court case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2013). They will examine the facts of the case and analyze the arguments made on both sides through primary source documents and preceding cases. They will then assess the majority and minority decisions for the case.