Amending the U. S. Constitution

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Amending the U.S. Constitution

Issue: Should an amendment be made to the U.S. Constitution that makes desecration of the United States flag a federal offense?
History of Issue:

In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the rights of Gregory Johnson, who had been convicted of violating a Texas law by burning a U.S. flag. In response to this some members of the U.S. Congress have attempted on several occasions to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution either giving the states the right to make it illegal to desecrate the flag, or to make it a federal offense to desecrate the flag.

This issue is very controversial, as the first amendment allows for freedom of speech and expression; yet opponents feel the very basis of our government lies in the respect of the flag and therefore its respect should be guaranteed in the constitution. In history only 26 amendments have been made to the original constitution, the most recent being in 1971 when the legal voting age was lowered to the age of 18.
Currently there is not an active bill in either the Senate or the House of Representatives, but this issue is raised on a regular basis and becomes a “hot topic!” The issue will undoubtedly be raised again in the near future.
What would you favor?

  1. Research the history of “flag burning” – Write a summary list of major events that have occurred surrounding this issue beginning with the Supreme Court decision “Texas vs. Johnson” in 1989. Create a chart of the events, including a brief description of the event, and its effect.

  2. Research the pro and con arguments for adding an amendment on flag desecration to the Constitution. Make a chart or Graphic Organizer and list arguments/quotes/issues for both sides.

  3. Review the arguments and make a decision based on your own personal viewpoint.

  4. Write a hypothetical letter to your Congressman, either supporting an amendment to the Constitution or opposing an amendment to the Constitution.

  1. An opening paragraph that explains why you are writing the letter, background information and clearly stating your viewpoint

  2. Three supporting paragraphs, each explaining and detailing a different valid argument that supports your opinion. Use quotes to support your arguments as well.

  3. A closing paragraph that summarizes, makes an insightful statement, and strongly states your point of view.

Chart of Historical Events _______ (10 points)

Pro/Con Argument(Graphic organizer)_______ (15 points)

Persuasive Letter _______ (25 points)

Letter will be scored on Persuasive Writing Rubric


Hint: Use a search engine (google); search “flag burning”

Use Electric Library to research articles

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