Students learn about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and compare the documents to the Texas documents.
Government. The student understands important ideas in historical documents of Texas and the United States. The student is expected to:
Identify the purposes and explain the importance of the Texas Declaration of Independence, the Texas Constitution and other documents such as the Meusebach Comanche Treaty.
Identify the intent, meaning, and importance of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights (Celebrate Freedom Week)
Social Studies Skills TEKS:
Social studies skills. The student applies critical thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:
Differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States and Texas
Analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions
Organize and interpret information in outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps
The Bill of Rights from the National Archives http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html
Transcription of the Bill of Rights from the National Archives http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html
Become familiar with content and procedures for the lesson.
Refer to the Instructional Focus Document for specific content to include in the lesson.
Select appropriate sections of the textbook and other classroom materials that support the learning for this lesson.
Preview available resources and websites according to district guidelines.
Prepare materials and handouts as needed.
Texas Declaration of Independence –
1836 – Written when Texas declared independence from Mexico; patterned after the United States document.
Constitution of the Republic of Texas –
Written hastily in 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mhc01.
Patterned after the U.S. Constitution.
Texas State Constitution –
1876 Constitution of the State of Texas: http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/text/1876index.html (Constitution still in force).
There have been seven Texas constitutions: the constitution of Coahuila y Tejas, the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas, the state constitutions of 1845 (written when Texas became a state), 1861 (amendment never submitted to voters seceding from Union and joining Confederacy), 1866 (rejoining the U.S.), 1869 (Reconstruction Constitution), and the current constitution, which took effect on February 15, 1876.
Both U.S. and Texas constitutions provide for federalism, a separation of powers, checks and balances, and a bill of rights.
Both are bicameral (2 houses, House of Representatives and Senate).
Both set up a system of limited government with 3 branches (Executive, Judicial, Legislative).
Both state the duties of major officials and spell out how voters select those officials.
Both include a Bill of Rights.
U.S. Constitution added the Bill of Rights (1st 10 amendments); Texas Constitution built in the Bill of Rights, including it in the Constitution as Article I.
U.S. Constitution was written and signed in 1787 and has been amended 27 times; Texas Constitution has been rewritten several times, current Constitution was written in 1876.
In U.S. Constitution there is strong separation of powers and a strong executive; Texas Constitution has a weak executive (power is divided between several elected officials).
U.S. Constitution is relatively short (7,400 words, 27 amendments); Texas Constitution is long and specifically spells out much policy (80,000+ words, 400+ amendments).
U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the land; principle of federalism applies to the Texas Constitution, which cannot go against the U.S. Constitution.
Texas Bill of Rights –
33 sections (originally 29, amended to include others); members of the constitutional convention at the time were writing in reaction to perceived abuses by the national and state governments under the Radical Republicans.
Written so “That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established…”
The U.S. Constitution added the Bill of Rights as the first ten amendments; the Texas Constitution puts the Bill of Rights at the beginning in Article I.
Comparison of the Texas Bill of Rights and the U.S. Bill of Rights.
Parallels between the U.S. and Texas founding documents:
The government of England became oppressive, so the colonists wrote the Declaration of Independence to declare their independence from England. When the colonists won that war, they needed a government. They wrote the Constitution to set up a system of limited government. They further wanted to make sure individual rights were protected, so they wrote the U.S. Bill of Rights.
The government of Mexico became oppressive, so the settlers in the Mexican state of Tejas wrote the Declaration of Independence to declare their independence from Mexico. They knew they would need a government. They drew heavily on the U.S. Constitution to write a constitution to set up a system of limited government for the new Republic of Texas (1836). When the Republic of Texas joined the United States (1845) and became the state of Texas, a state constitution was written, and then rewritten several times in response to various events. The 1876 version is the Texas State Constitution still in place. The writers of the Texas State Constitution (1876) further wanted to make sure individual rights were protected, so they wrote the Texas Bill of Rights.
Getting Ready for Instruction Supplemental Planning Document
Instructors are encouraged to supplement and substitute resources, materials, and activities to differentiate instruction to address the needs of learners. The Exemplar Lessons are one approach to teaching and reaching the Performance Indicators and Specificity in the Instructional Focus Document for this unit. Instructors are encouraged to create original lessons using the Content Creator in the Tools Tab located at the top of the page. All originally authored lessons can be saved in the “My CSCOPE” Tab within the “My Content” area.
In the last lesson, we learned about the Declaration of Independence, where we heard the famous words:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We also learned that the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to set up the government for the new nation, the United States of America.
The Constitution the Framers wrote set up the government for the new country. It spelled out what the government could do, but it did not say what the government could not do. People wanted strong guarantees that the new government would not trample on their newly won freedoms. The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, lists the rights of Americans.
Thomas Jefferson said, “A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government…”
Project/display the Bill of Rights from the National Archives and briefly discuss.
Add further background by saying:
The opening of the Bill of Rights says this:
“The conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.”
This means that the states, in order to keep the government from abusing its power, wanted assurances added to the Constitution. The Framers added statements to limit the power of the government and thus protect the rights of the individual – the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights from the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html
EXPLORE – Bill of Rights.
Suggested Day 1 (cont’d) – 15 minutes
Think back to what we learned aboutthe Declaration of Independence and the grievances (complaints) the colonists voiced about the English government. Many of the amendments in the Bill of Rights address the same concerns voiced in the grievances. The Bill of Rights makes sure our rights are protected.
Distribute the Handout: U.S. Bill of Rights Cards.
While still projecting/displaying the Bill of Rights from the National Archives, teacher reads the actual wording of the primary source document, The Bill of Rights. (See the transcription on the National Archives site.)
Students, in groups of two to three, match the amendment with the explanation and visual while the teacher reads the actual wording.
Student groups discuss each amendment as they match the cards to build a matrix.
transcription of the Bill of Rights from the National Archives http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html
Handout: U.S.Bill of Rights Cards (cut apart, 1 set per student or group)
EXPLAIN – U.S. Bill of Rights
Suggested Day 1 (cont’d) – 10 minutes
Students complete the following sentence stems:
The Founding Fathers made sure the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution because…
One important amendment is ____.
It is important because …
Handout: Bill of RightsSentence Stems (optional, 1 per student)
EXPLORE – Texas Bill of Rights
Suggested Day 1 (cont’d) – 10 minutes
With students still in their small groups (2-3 students), distribute the Handout: Texas Bill of Rights.
Using the Handout: U.S.Bill of Rights Cards from the earlier Explore, students work in pairs to compare the Texas Bill of Rights to the U.S. Bill of Rights. Student identify with a checkmark each right listed in the Texas Bill of Rights that is the same as in the U.S. Bill of Rights.
Facilitate a brief discussion comparing the U.S. and Texas documents. (see background information, above), making sure students understand that both the federal and state founding documents (Bill of Rights) protect individual rights.
Possible Answers (others are possible with solid explanation)
Section 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 25, 27
Handout: U.S.Bill of Rights Cards from earlier Explore
Handout: Texas Bill of Rights (1 per student or group)
Still in their groups, students complete the comparison (Venn Diagram and sentence stems) at the bottom of the Handout: Texas Bill of Rights and share their ideas with the class.
Handout: Texas Bill of Rights from earlier Explore
EXPLORE – Comparing Texas and U.S. Documents
Suggested Day 2 – 20 minutes
Distribute the Handout: Purpose of Founding Documents.
Tell the story of the U.S. founding documents and the Texas founding documents. Emphasize the parallels between the events and the writing of the documents and provide information on how the documents compare. During the discussion, guide students to fill in the handout and help them draw conclusions about the purpose of the documents. (See Background Information, above. Use information provided and/or add other information as needed.)
Facilitate a discussion to answer questions that may arise.
Article “BROAD-MINDED MEN OF TEXAS.; Pioneers of the Lone Star State, with Rare Forethought, Laid Its Foundations Well and Strong” from the NYT content repository on Project Share
Handout: Purpose of Founding Documents (1 per student)
Teacher Resource: Purpose of Founding Documents KEY
EXPLAIN – Comparing Texas and U.S. Documents
Suggested Day 2 (cont’d) – 10 minutes
In pairs, students take turns telling the stories of the U.S. and Texas founding documents, using academic vocabulary and emphasizing the sequence of events and the purpose and importance of the documents.
Teacher circulates, listening to ensure correct information is being relayed.
Lead paragraph: Put ALL the “who, what, when, where, why and how” in the opening sentence(s) of the article.
Explanation: After the lead paragraph, the writer decides what other facts or details the reader might want to know. The writer must make sure that any important questions are answered. This section can also include direct quotes from witnesses or bystanders.