- What is a virtue?
- Why focus on virtues and not “values” or “character”?
- How does virtue impact the function of government?
- Students will define civic virtue.
- Students will learn and define some of the specific civic virtues that the United States’ Founders believe were required of citizens in order for the Constitution to function.
- Civic Virtue and Our Constitutional Republic Essay
- Handout A: Defining Civic Virtue
- Handout B: Clarifying Civic Virtue
- Handout C: Identifying and Defining Civic Virtues
- Handout D: George Washington and the Temple of Virtue
- Handout E: Self-Governance and American Self-Government
- Handout F: Making Our Republic Work
- Handout G: Real Life Portraits of Civic Virtue
- Handout H: Excerpts from Washington’s Farewell
Students complete a pre-assessment of their understanding of civic virtue using Handout A.
Read and discuss the Civic Virtue and Our Constitutional Republic Essay.
Complete Handout B: Clarifying Civic Virtue.
Assign students to small groups and assign each group a few of the civic virtues defined on Handout C: Identifying and Defining Civic Virtues. Have students briefly discuss their assigned virtues to clarify the definitions. Then have each group complete the table to identify a person or character in history, literature, or current events who exemplified their assigned virtues. Include an explanation. Call on a few groups to share their results.
Assign Handout D: George Washington and the Temple of Virtue reading. In the next class, have students work in small groups to talk through the critical thinking questions. Use Handout E: Self-Governance and American Self-Government to reflect on the significance of civic virtue and to recognize the correspondence between virtue and specific constitutional principles. If desired, use Handout F: Making Our Republic Work to provide a writing prompt regarding self-governance.
- Use Handout G: Real Life Portraits of Civic Virtue to analyze a portrait of the Copley family and write a museum label for the portrait.
- Analyze George Washington’s Farewell Address using Handout H: Excerpts from Washington’s Farewell.
- Keep a journal with the definitions of the U.S. Founders’ civic virtues. As you complete each unit of study, reflect on how the virtues helped shape our constitutional republic.
- Continue to delve into the topic with Heroes and Villains lesson: George Washington and Self Governance.