Course – 9th grade World History
Time frame – 2-3 classroom days (45 min period)
Learning goals – students will come away from this lesson with the ability to recognize important names of the enlightenment and will understand the basic idea that the order of society was changed from a system of government in which people served the government to a system that envisioned the government serving the people that formed it.
Primary documents to be used –
John Locke: from Two Treatises of Government, 1690 (from Internet History Source Book at Fordham Unviversity)
Jean Jacques Rousseau: from The Social Contract, 1762 ( Reading About the World, Vol. 2, Washington State University)
Classroom day 1
To motivate the students prior to reading and examining the excerpts of the readings, divide the class into 4 or 5 small groups. As groups they will be presented the picture of Robespierre Being Led to the Guillotine (without identifying it). (Ask thme to answer the questions on the handout. As students are talking about what words the image brings to mind, you might want to suggest words like freedom, persecution, law, death, government, authority, liberty, rights, etc.
After opening the discussion up to the entire class and writing the words groups have formed, led the class into a discussion about liberty, freedom, law and order, social standards, authority. Once this has been defined and posed, students will be asked to think about three forms of government. One in which there is no law, in which total anarchy “rules”; another in which the citizens of the country introduce law through a general agreement; and last a system in which one person makes law and controls the people, both the good and bad people.
Relate the last system to absolute monarchy as a way set up the political context of the Enlightenment.
Classroom day 2
The readingsfor the day will be handed out to the students, along with a Document Analysis Worksheet. after the students have worked through their documents in groups, there will be a general discussion focused on selected sentences that focus on the ideas of the enlightenment. Especially note the idea of people as sovereign and possessing liberty at birth and throughout their life due to the social contract entered into by those who follow the law.
Direct the conversation as onto the subjects like freedom is a given right, slavery is immoral, government is formed to serve the people, etc. At the end, allow time for the entire class to discuss what they have learned and important names and central tenets of thought provided through those thinkers of the enlightenment.
Created by Travis Pulfer, Jackson Center High School, Ohio