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TEACHER BACKGROUND MATERIALS

I.

UNIT OVERVIEW

T his teaching unit, using Philadelphia and Pennsylvania as a case study, gives students the op- portunity to examine critical events leading to the outbreak of the American Revolution, the political maneuvers resulting in Pennsylvania’s support of a declaration of independence, the revolu- tionary goals of different groups, and the economic issues confronting Revolutionary America. Students explore revolutionary government-making at the state level focusing on the “radical” Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 and comparing it to the more conservative Virginia Constitution of the same year. The unit also examines several reform movements, including the abolition of slavery, educa- tion, religious liberty, and penal reform that stemmed from the ideals of Pennsylvania’s reformers of the revolutionary era. In addition, students examine the Pennsylvania debate over the ratification of the United States Constitution and the ultimate rejection of the radical state constitution of 1776 in a new state constitution passed in 1790.

II.

UNIT CONTEXT

T his unit, as a whole, may be used to enrich the study of the Revolutionary Era or individual lessons can be employed to supplement the study of the pivotal events of the period and major issues confronting the nation during and immediately following the Revolution. Lights of Liberty: Philadelphia’s Revolutionary Experience may be used to prepare students for field trips that bring thousands of young people from across the nation to Philadelphia each year as part of an educational study program. The unit includes suggested activities associated with walking tours of Philadelphia that will extend the classroom to incorporate the rich history of the largest and most important city in America during the Revolutionary era.

III. CORRELATION TO THE NATIONAL HISTORY STANDARDS

L ights of Liberty: Philadelphia’s Revolutionary Experience provides teaching materials that directly correlate to the National Standards for History, Basic Edition (National Center for History in the Schools, 1996) addressing elements of Standards 1–3 of Era 3, “Revolution and the New Nation.” This unit likewise addresses learning skills outlined in the five Historical Thinking Standards in Part 2, Chapter 2 of the National Standards for History. The five lessons of this teaching unit provide primary source materials which challenge students to explain historical change and continuity, con- sider multiple perspectives, compare and contrast differing set of ideas and values, analyze interests of people involved in decision making, and marshal knowledge and logic to reach a conclusion.

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