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The Dawn’s Early Light: The Defense of Fort McHenry and Courage

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • Who was Major George Armistead? What was his role at Fort McHenry?
  • What was Major Armistead’s purpose during the battle?
  • What courageous actions did Armistead and his men take during the battle?
  • How did Major Armistead and the soldiers at Fort McHenry fight for freedom for themselves and others?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will analyze the courageous actions of Major Armistead and the soldiers at Fort McHenry.
  • Students will understand the virtue of courage and how they can be courageous in their own lives.
  • Students will apply their knowledge in making courageous decisions.

Student Handouts