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The End of Slavery and the Reconstruction Amendments

property,Thirteenth Amendment,Bill of Rights,Declaration of Independence,federalism,Due Process,Constitution,Fifth Amendment,Fourteenth Amendment

The End of Slavery and the Reconstruction Amendments: Opinions, Amendments, and Court Cases

Distribute Handout A: Opinion Check-In. Have students complete this individually. Make sure students know the assignment is not for a grade, but simply for their own self-assessment and as a warm-up for the documents they will be reading. They should not be concerned about “right” or “wrong” answers. Be sure students put their name on their papers, and then collect them. Set them aside for reference at the end of this lesson. Before proceeding, conduct a “stand on the line” seminar: Indicate one wall (or, if you have access to an empty hallway, one end of the hallway) to represent a “1” response and the other wall (or end of the hallway) to represent “10.” Ask question #1 from Handout A and instruct students to stand along the “line” to indicate their response. Select any other of the questions on Handout A and follow the same procedure.

Distribute Handout B: The Tenth Amendment and Reconstruction Amendments. Assign students to groups of three to read and complete the related questions for the documents on this handout. Before proceeding, discuss these amendments and questions as a class.

Distribute Handout C: Court Cases. Divide the class as follows: three groups, with one student from each group of three assigned to a different group. Assign each group one of the cases and related questions. After students have completed their study of the cases and completed the related questions, send them back to their original groups of three (in which they completed Handout B). Each group of three should now have an “expert” on each court case. Have students share their responses to the questions about each case. Invite students from each large group to report on the cases on Handout C.

As done in above, indicate one wall or hallway to represent a “1” response and the other wall or hallway to represent “10.” Ask question #1 from Handout A: Opinion Check-In and instruct students to stand along the “line” to indicate their response. Ask whichever question was asked second in the previous version of this activity.

Distribute Handout D: Opinion Double-Check. Have students complete this individually. Once they have completed the questionnaire, return to each student his/her previously completed Handout A and invite them to compare their response. Instruct them to answer the questions on the second page of Handout D.

Conduct a class discussion about how their responses either did or did not change, and what specific aspects of the amendments and court cases they read influenced their change of opinion. Raise one or two current events that relate to the Tenth, Thirteen, and/or Fourteenth Amendments, and challenge students to consider their opinions based on their understanding of these Constitutional amendments.

Assign a response paragraph based on the following prompt: How, over time, has the relationship between federal and state government been altered by the Fourteenth Amendment? How has this influenced the role of the federal government in U.S. citizens’ everyday lives?