Skip to Main Content

The Schechter Brothers’ Contribution

A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. U.S. 55 S. Ct. 837. Supreme Court of the U.S. 1935.

Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan. 293 US 388. Supreme Court of the U.S. 1935.

CENTRAL QUESTION: How can one person’s talents and passions affect society?

Part I: Contributions & Benefits
Lead a class discussion based on the question above. As discussion becomes focused on the way society can benefit from an individual person’s talents, introduce the term “contribution” and its definition: To discover your passions and talents and to use them to create what is beautiful and needed. To work hard to take care of yourself and those who depend on you.

Assign students to groups of 4 or 5 and distribute the Contributions & Benefits handout, one per student. First, allow time for individual students to complete questions 1 through 3. After students have completed that portion, have each small group discuss their responses to the questions and to the table each student completed.

Have each group report, via their chosen reporter, the “contributions to society” statement they drafted.


Part II: My Contributions: Who Benefits?
Distribute one Our Contributions: Who Benefits? handout to each student.

Conduct a “round robin” activity to complete the handout, as follows:

1st.  Each student writes his or her name in the “My Name” space at the top of the table and in the “____’s contribution” row at the bottom of the table.

2nd.  Students pass their paper to the left (clockwise). The next person to hold the paper completes it about the person whose name is at top, adding notes in row 1, in similar fashion to how they completed the previous activity.

3rd.  Students pass their paper to the left (clockwise) again and repeat Step 2, completing the next row.

4th.  When the paper gets to the person immediately to the right of the person whose name at the top of the table, that person reviews all the previous information and writes a summary statement about that person’s contribution to the class, school, or community.

Each row need not be a new trait, but might expand on a previous person’s notes.

Conclude with the following questions:

  • What talents, skills, and priorities (or passions) did you identify among the people in your group?
  • What kind of work does it require to develop those skills?
  • In what ways do you already see yourselves as having contributions to make to society?
  • Do our contributions need to be only charitable? Are they limited to such fields as medicine or education? How do other professions or vocations benefit communities?
  • How do we benefit from farmers? …from people who transport food to supermarkets? …bankers? …the person who wakes up at 4 a.m. to bake bagels for the people in his neighborhood?
  • Describe the relationship between individual freedom and the individual contributions we can make to society.
  • Make some predictions about the kinds of contributions your classmates might make to their communities in the next five years, ten years, and twenty years.

The optional introductory activity above is designed to support you in the classroom. However, the primary narratives and photos in the section that follows can be used with or without this introduction.