Matt Ridenour – Barringer Fellow, MTI
What does a “good society” look like now that Americans are living under the liberty they find in the newly scribed Constitution? Step into the world of the late 18th century and judge for yourself.
By completing this challenge, students will exercise the skill of historical argumentation. This involves the ability to define and frame a question about the past and to address that question by constructing an argument. A plausible and persuasive argument requires a clear, comprehensive and analytical thesis, supported by relevant historical evidence — not simply evidence that supports a preferred or preconceived position. Additionally, argumentation involves the capacity to describe, analyze, and evaluate the arguments of others in light of available evidence. Challenge your students to approach this challenge in this way.
This is best used as an introduction to the very different opinions of Jefferson and Hamilton. It could be used as a segway to the Bank Debate, the notions of loose vs strict construction, and the opposition of the Anti-Federalists/Democratic Republicans to the the positions of the Federalists. Some additional ideas for using this lesson include: Finish the lesson with a debate about the merits of both positions, or conclude using a fishbowl discussion technique (https://www.facinghistory.org/for-educators/educator-resources/teaching-strategies/fishbowl).