The Constitutional Convention: To Sign or Not to Sign?

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History is the chronicle of choices made by actors/agents/protagonists in specific contexts. This simulation places students in the final days of the Constitutional Convention and asks them to consider the Constitution as a whole. Like the actual framers, they will probably have reservations about particular features, yet they will be asked to consider: Are any of their objections so pressing that they will not endorse the Convention’s work? At the close of the lesson, each student must declare whether he or she is willing to sign the document created by the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and be able to explain this decision to constituents. Students who decide to sign will state how this plan can improve on the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation. Students who decide not to sign will state their major objections and suggest what should be done next to address the problems faced by the confederacy of the United States. By participating in this process, students will engage with an experience that lies at the core of all political deliberations: whether a political actor will assent to programs that appear broadly beneficial but include components the actor considers objectionable. While civic action aims for the greatest good, politics remains the art of the possible.

Lesson tags: 
Advanced Placement (AP)
Creative Commons License: 
Attribution Non-commercial ShareAlike CC (BY-NC-SA)