Debating the Constitution

Lesson Plan

Created by Janice Kollar, Black River Middle School.

Federal Edifice


Use this activity after discussing the Constitutional Convention and the debates between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Begin class by reviewing the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debate. Discuss propaganda used by both sides at the time.

Content Standards:

SS.1, H. 6. B

Primary Sources:

Political Cartoon  “PDF icon The Federal Edifice” From the Massachusetts Centinel August 2, 1788

Lesson Summary:

1. Hook:  I place a current political cartoon on the smartboard for discussion.  
2. Pass out the Cartoon Analysis worksheet.
3. Discuss the questions on the sheet so students know what they mean.
4. Pass out the cartoon “The Federal Edifice” and have students work with a partner to go through the questions posed on the document analysis sheet.
5. Discuss as a group the questions they have (probably the translations) 
6. Discuss if a federalist or an anti federalist wrote this cartoon. Why do you think so?   What is the main message of the cartoon?
7. Review the views of the Federalists and how this cartoon emphasizes these principles.

Post-assessment and Scoring Guidelines:

As a post assessment, the students will write a letter to the editor as a Federalist or Anti Federalist including their views and why they feel the way they do. I also have them create a political cartoon to accompany their view towards the constitution.

Materials Needed:

Current political cartoon
Class set of “PDF icon The Federal Edifice” political cartoon