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Rule of Law

95 min

Guiding Questions

  • What is rule of law and why is it essential to the promotion of liberty?
  • What protections are included in the Bill of Rights, and why is each necessary to the promotion of liberty?

Objectives

  • Students will understand the concept of the rule of law.
  • Students will explain how the idea of rule of law influenced the design of our Government.
  • Students will apply the principle of rule of law.

  • John Adams
  • rule of law
  • liberty
  • tyrannical
  • Founders
  • Preamble
  • Constitution

Have students read the Rule of Law Essay to establish context for the lesson.

Distribute copies of Handout A: Excerpts from Federalist No. 62 to students. Have students read and discuss the Federalist No. 62 excerpts, and explain the significance of rule of law in their own words.

Federalist No. 62 [20 minutes]

Distribute copies of Handout B: Quotes about Rule of Law. Have students work in their groups to put these quotes in their own words.

Using their work on Handouts A and B, student groups should compose their own definitions of “rule of law” and explain why it is essential to the promotion of liberty.


Analyzing Amendments [20 minutes]

Students will use Handout C: The Bill of Rights, along with Handout D: Analysis of Amendments 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, to explain what protections are included in the Bill of Rights, and why each is necessary to the promotion of liberty.


Search and Seizure [20 minutes]

Students will use Handout E: Examples of Search and Seizure Cases to apply the principle of rule of law and decide whether evidence should be used in trial of the accused.

Students will use Handout F: Cruel and Unusual Punishment? to apply the principle of rule of law and decide whether specific punishments should be considered cruel and unusual.

Students find and summarize current events articles about some aspect of the rule of law and/or the Bill of Rights guarantees.

Students will research a contemporary issue related to the Rule of Law, and use evidence from the primary sources from the lesson to write an editorial advancing an argument related to the issue.

Have students participate in a “Think the Vote” topic related to the Rule of Law.



Next Lesson

The Role of Government