Table of Contents with Critical Media Literacy Connections

"When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself."

John Lewis, Congressman and Civil Rights Activist (2020)

The Philosophical Foundations of the United States Political System

The Government of Ancient Athens

    1. INVESTIGATE: Athenian Democracy and 21st Century Digital Government--Before and after the Pandemic
    2. UNCOVER: The Legend of Pheidippides, the Heraean Games, and First American Runners in the Boston Marathon and the Olympics
    3. ENGAGE: How Can School Classrooms Become More Democratic Spaces?

The Government of the Roman Republic

    1. INVESTIGATE: Roman Government and Roman Engineering and Public Works Projects
    2. UNCOVER: Spartacus and Slavery in the Roman World, Toussaint L’Ouverture, and Black American Slave Revolts
    3. ENGAGE: What Latin Words and Phrases Should Every Student Know?

Enlightenment Thinkers and Democratic Government

    1. INVESTIGATE: Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and their Influence on Government
    2. UNCOVER: Mary Wollstonecraft, Olympe De Gouges, and the Rights of Women
    3. ENGAGE: Who Were History’s Most Important Women Change-Makers in Math, Science, and Politics?

British Influences on American Government

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Mayflower Compact, Colonial Governments, and Who Voted in Early America
    2. UNCOVER: Lucy Terry Prince, Anne Hutchinson and Mary Dyer: Women's Roles in Colonial America
    3. ENGAGE: Should 16 or 17 Year-Olds Be Allowed to Vote?

Native American Influences on American Government

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Iroquois Confederacy and the Great Law of Peace
    2. UNCOVER: The Peskeompskut-Wissatinnewag Massacre OR the Battle of Great Falls
    3. ENGAGE: How to Evaluate a Person’s Place in History: Jeffrey Amherst and the Case of the Smallpox Blankets

TOPIC 2: The Development of United States Government [Standards 8.T2.1-5]

The Revolutionary Era and the Declaration of Independence

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Seneca Falls Convention and the Declaration of Sentiments (1848)
    2. UNCOVER: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    3. ENGAGE: What Do Other Declarations of Independence Declare?

The Articles of Confederation

    1. INVESTIGATE: Government Under the Articles of Confederation
    2. UNCOVER: Shays’ Rebellion and the Coming of the Constitution
    3. ENGAGE: How Much Power Should the Federal Government Have in the 21st Century?  The Case of Self-Driving Cars and Trucks

The Constitutional Convention

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Great Compromise: The Virginia and New Jersey Plans
    2. UNCOVER: Thomas Jefferson’s Draft Constitution (1776) and Thurgood Marshall’s Bicentennial Speech (1987)
    3. ENGAGE: Did the Three-Fifths Compromise Make the Constitution a Pro-Slavery Document?

Debates Between Federalists and Anti-Federalists

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Federalist-Anti-Federalist Debates
    2. UNCOVER: Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, and the Political Roles of Women
    3. ENGAGE: Who Should Have Primary Responsibility for Environmental Policies?

Articles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

      1. INVESTIGATE: The Articles of the Constitution and the Many Bills of Rights in United States History
      2. UNCOVER: W.E.B. DuBois, the Niagara Movement, and the History of the NAACP
      3. ENGAGE: What Are the Most Influential Documents in America’s Multicultural History

TOPIC 3: The Institutions of the United States Government [Standards 8.T3.1-5]

The Branches of the Government and the Separation of Powers

    1. INVESTIGATE: Federalism and the Three Branches of the Government
    2. UNCOVER: Shirley Chisholm, African American Politician and Presidential Candidate
    3. ENGAGE: Should Puerto Rico or Washington, D.C. Be a 51st State?

Checks and Balances Between the Branches

    1. INVESTIGATE: Checks and Balances, Presidential and Parliamentary Systems, Powers of the U.S. Presidency
    2. UNCOVER: The War Powers of the President
    3. ENGAGE: When and For What Should a President Be Impeached?

The Roles of Congress, the President, and the Courts

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Executive Branch and the President
      1.1 UNCOVER: The FBI in American Politics
      1.2 ENGAGE: Can a Woman Be Elected President of the United States?
    2. INVESTIGATE: The Legislative Branch
      2.1 UNCOVER: Electing LGBTQIA Legislators
    3. INVESTIGATE: The Federal Judicial Branch and State Courts
      3.1 ENGAGE: What Supreme Court Cases Should All Teenagers Know?

Elections and Nominations

    1. INVESTIGATE: Presidential Elections, the Popular Vote, and the Electoral College
    2. UNCOVER: 2000 and Other Disputed Elections in United States History
    3. ENGAGE: Is It Time to Adopt Instant Runoff/Ranked Choice Voting?

The Role of Political Parties

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Party System, Political Parties Today, and the 2020 Census
    2. UNCOVER: Radical Political Parties in United States Politics: Populists, Socialists, and Black Panthers
    3. ENGAGE: Should Voters Join a Political Party?

TOPIC 4: Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens [Standards 8.T4.1-13]

Becoming a Citizen

    1. INVESTIGATE: Becoming a Citizen Through Immigration Gateways and Ports of Entry
    2. UNCOVER: Citizenship for Puerto Ricans 
    3. ENGAGE: When Should Someone Be Granted Asylum in the United States?

Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens and Non-Citizens

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Rights of Citizens and Non-Citizens
    2. UNCOVER: The Internment of Japanese Americans During World War II
    3. ENGAGE: Should Fred Korematsu and Other Individuals Who Fought for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Have a National Day of Recognition?

Civic, Political, and Private Life

    1. INVESTIGATE: People's Lives and Government Responses to COVID-19
    2. UNCOVER: Women's Political Participation Around the World
    3. ENGAGE: Should the U.S. Adopt Universal Basic Income (UBI) or Guaranteed Employment as National Policies?

Fundamental Principles and Values of American Political and Civic Life

    1. INVESTIGATE: Fundamental Principles and Values of American Life
    2. UNCOVER: The Importance of the 14th Amendment
    3. ENGAGE: What Are Students’ Rights at School?

Voting and Citizen Participation in the Political Process

    1. INVESTIGATE: Who Votes and Who Does Not in the United States
    2. UNCOVER: Voter Suppression and Barriers to Voting
    3. ENGAGE: How Would You Get More People, Especially Young People, to Vote?

Election Information

    1. INVESTIGATE: Persuasion, Propaganda, and Political Language in Elections
    2. UNCOVER: Presidential Debates in U.S. Politics
    3. ENGAGE: Should There Be Public Financing of Elections?

Leadership and the Qualities of Political Leaders

    1. INVESTIGATE: Frances Perkins, Margaret Sanger, and Harvey Milk: Three Examples of Political Leadership
    2. UNCOVER: Benjamin Banneker, George Washington Carver, and Black Inventors' Contributions to Math, Science and Politics
    3. ENGAGE: Who Do You Think Are the Most Famous Americans?

Cooperation Between Individuals and Leaders

    1. INVESTIGATE: Contacting Congress
    2. UNCOVER: Youth Activists and Change Makers
    3. ENGAGE: Would You Join a Consumer Boycott or Buycott to Promote Change?

Public Service as a Career

    1. INVESTIGATE: Working for Local, State and Federal Government 
    2. UNCOVER: A Short History of American Public Education
    3. ENGAGE: Is Teaching a Career for You?

Liberty in Conflict with Equality or Authority

    1. INVESTIGATE: Movements for Civil Rights in United States History
    2. UNCOVER: Queen Liliuokalani and the American Annexation of Hawaii
    3. ENGAGE: What are Transgender Students’ Rights at School?

Political Courage and Those Who Affirmed or Denied Democratic Ideals

    1. INVESTIGATE: When American Ideals Were Affirmed
    2. UNCOVER: Claudette Colvin and the Browder v. Gayle case
    3. ENGAGE: When and How Were American Ideals Denied?
      1. The January 6, 2021 Insurrection at the Capitol and the 1898 Wilmington Massacre
      2. The Reconstruction Era
      3. The Indian Wars of the American West
      4. McCarthyism and the Anti-Communist Red Scare
      5. The Anti-Gay Lavender Scare of the 1950s

The Role of Political Protest

    1. INVESTIGATE: Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Doctrine of Nonviolence Protest and Civil Disobedience
    2. UNCOVER: Three Historical Examples of Political Protest
      2.1 The Stonewall Uprising (1969)
      2.2 Mother Jones and the March of the Mill Children (1903)
      2.3 The Standing Rock Pipeline Protest (2016-2017)
    3. ENGAGE: Can Books and Music Express Political Protest?

Public and Private Interest Groups 

    1. INVESTIGATE: Special Interest Groups, Political Action Committees (PACs and SuperPACs), and Labor Unions
    2. UNCOVER: The Pullman Strike of 1894 and the History of Labor Day 
    3. ENGAGE: What Role Does Money Play in our Elections?

TOPIC 5: The Constitution, Amendments, and Supreme Court [Standards 8.T5.1-6]

The Necessary and Proper Clause

Amendments to the Constitution

    1. INVESTIGATE: Prohibition and the 18th and 21st Amendments
    2. UNCOVER: Alice Paul and the History of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment)
    3. ENGAGE: What New Amendments to the Constitution are Needed Today?

Constitutional Issues Related to the Civil War, Federal Power, and Individual Civil Rights

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott Case, the 54th Volunteer Regiment During the Civil War, and Juneteenth National Independence Act
    2. UNCOVER: Harriet Tubman, William Still, and the Underground Railroad
    3. ENGAGE: Whose Faces Should Appear on U.S. Currency?

Civil Rights and Equal Protection for Race, Gender and Disability

    1. INVESTIGATE: Race -The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
    2. INVESTIGATE: Gender - Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1970
      2.1 ENGAGE: When can girls and boys compete together in athletic events?
    3. INVESTIGATE: Disability - The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
      3.1 UNCOVER: Helen Keller, author and political activist

Marbury v. Madison and the Principle of Judicial Review

    1. INVESTIGATE: John Marshall and Marbury v. Madison
    2. UNCOVER: The Trail of Tears, Chief John Ross, and Supreme Court Cases involving Native Americans
    3. ENGAGE: Do Supreme Court Dissents Make a Difference to the Law?

Significant Supreme Court Decisions

    1. INVESTIGATE: First Amendment Rights: Landmark Cases
      1.1 UNCOVER: Tinker v. Des Moines and the Boundaries of Student Speech in Schools
    2. INVESTIGATE: Due Process and Equal Rights: Mendez v. Westminster (1947)
    3. INVESTIGATE: Rights in Conflict: The U.S. Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance
      3.1  ENGAGE: Is Kneeling during the National Anthem an Effective Form of Political Protest?
    4. INVESTIGATE: Rights in Conflict: School Prayer
    5. INVESTIGATE: Rights in Conflict: National Security
    6. INVESTIGATE: Rights in Conflict: Gun Control
      6.1 ENGAGE: What Steps Should Communities and Governments Take to Reduce Gun Violence?

TOPIC 6: The Structure of Massachusetts State and Local Government [Standards 8.T6.1-10]

Functions of State and National Government

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Powers of State and National Government and the Tensions Between Them
    2. UNCOVER: Native American Tribal Governments
    3. ENGAGE: Should More States Adopt Part-Time Citizen Legislatures?

United States and Massachusetts Constitutions

    1. INVESTIGATE: Powers and Restrictions on Powers of the Government
    2. UNCOVER: Elizabeth Freeman (Mum Bett) and the Abolition of Slavery in Massachusetts
    3. ENGAGE: Should the Government Pay Slavery Reparations for African Americans?

Enumerated and Implied Powers

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Enumerated and Implied Powers of the U.S. Constitution
    2. UNCOVER: Federal Minimum Wage Laws, Young Workers, and the Implied Powers of Congress
    3. ENGAGE: Should the Nation Adopt a Living Wage Rather Than a Minimum Wage?

Core Documents: The Protection of Individual Rights

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Bill of Rights, the 14th Amendment, and Article I of the Massachusetts Constitution 
    2. UNCOVER: Marriage Equality Court Cases
    3. ENGAGE:  When Should You Go to Small Claims Court?

10th Amendment to the Constitution

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Regulation of Sports Betting

Additional Provisions of the Massachusetts Constitution

    1. INVESTIGATE: Comparing the Federal and Massachusetts Constitutions
    2. UNCOVER: Gender-Inclusive and Anti-Racist Language and Images in State Constitutions, Laws, and Materials
    3. ENGAGE: How Can Teachers and Students Develop an LGBTQIA-Inclusive Curriculum in Schools?

Responsibilities of Federal, State and Local Government

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Functions of State and Local Government
    2. UNCOVER: COVID-19, Vaccinations, Face Masks, and Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905)
    3. ENGAGE: What Single-Use Plastic Items Should Local Governments Ban to Help Save the Environment?

Leadership Structure of the Massachusetts Government

    1. INVESTIGATE: The Structure of Massachusetts Government
    2. UNCOVER: Milestones in Massachusetts Politics
    3. ENGAGE: How Can Society Eliminate Gender Gaps in Wages and Jobs?

Tax-Supported Facilities and Services

    1. INVESTIGATE: People’s Taxes and How They Are Spent
    2. UNCOVER: A Brief History of Taxation in the U.S.
    3. ENGAGE: Should States Expand Lotteries to Raise Money for Communities?

Components of Local Government

    1. INVESTIGATE: Town Meetings as a Form of Local Government
    2. UNCOVER: Democratic Decision Making in Cooperative Organizations and Worker/Employee-Owned Companies
    3. ENGAGE: Should Communities Declare Themselves Safe or Sanctuary Cities?

TOPIC 7: Freedom of the Press and News/Media Literacy [Standards 8.T7.1-6]

Freedom of the Press

    1. INVESTIGATE: Notable Freedom of the Press Court Cases
    2. UNCOVER: Censorship and the Campaign Against Comic Books in the 1950s, Banned Books in the U.S. Today, and the Great Chinese Firewall
    3. ENGAGE: What are the Speech Rights of Student Journalists?

Competing Information in a Free Press

    1. INVESTIGATE: History of Newspapers, Then and Now
    2. UNCOVER: Investigative Journalists: Nellie Bly, Ida Tarbell, Ida B. Wells, Upton Sinclair, and Rachel Carson
    3. ENGAGE: How Can Every Citizen Become Their Own Investigative Journalist?

Writing the News: Different Formats and Their Functions

    1. INVESTIGATE: News Articles, Editorials, Editorial Cartoons, Op-Ed Commentaries, Photographs, Press Conference, and Sports Writing
    2. UNCOVER: Pioneering Women Cartoonists and Animators: Jackie Ormes, Dale Messick and More
    3. ENGAGE: What is the Role of a War Correspondent?

Digital News and Social Media

    1. INVESTIGATE: Social Media, News, and the Spread of Misinformation
    2. UNCOVER: Russian Hackers, Facebook, the Mueller Report, and the 2016 and 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections
    3. ENGAGE: Is the Internet a Human Right?

Evaluating Print and Online Media

    1. INVESTIGATE: Defining “Fake News" and Finding Reliable Information
    2. UNCOVER: Yellow Journalism and the Spanish-American War
    3. ENGAGE: How Can Students Use Fact Checking to Evaluate the Credibility of News?

Analyzing Editorials, Editorial Cartoons, or Op-Ed Commentaries

    1. INVESTIGATE: Evaluating Editorials, Editorial Cartoons, and Op-Ed Commentaries
    2. UNCOVER: Deepfakes, Fake Profiles, and Political Messaging
    3. ENGAGE: Should Facebook and Other Technology Companies Regulate Political Content on Their Social Media Platforms?

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