“A Government Without Newspapers, or Newspapers Without Government:” Jefferson’s Ambivalent Attitude Towards the Press

Duration: 90-120 min

With more and more discussion lately about “fake news” and the protections of the press guaranteed under the First Amendment, explore how Thomas Jefferson might approach the media today.  Through exposure to his letters regarding his changing views of the media (from member of the Continental Congress to his time as President) students will be able to compare statements of Jefferson regarding the press and make connections to our government’s varying views on the media.

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View Lesson Plan     Download
Handouts (PDF Format)
  • Jeffersons Views Towards the Press resource packet     View  |  Download
  • Jeffersons Views Towards the Press - Exit Tweet sheet     View  |  Download
  • Jeffersons Views Towards Press- Bill of Rights Institute Background Essay     View  |  Download

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Grade Level

Middle School, High School

Type of Lesson

Cooperative Learning

Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

Author Info

Name: Michele Gabrielson
Email: [email protected]
School: Wellesley Middle School
City: Wellesley
State: MA