Democratic Foundations

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Curriculet Details
12 Questions
8 Annotations
1 Quiz

This activity asks students to analyze the Magna Carta, English Bill of Rights, the US Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man in an effort to understand which rights are fundamental to uphold in a just democracy. Prior to completing this activity students should have a basic understanding of Absolutism, as it will help them better understand the necessity of the revolutions discussed.

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In this illustration a defeated King John signs the Magna Carta. After being confronted at Runnymede by the possibility of war with his barons, he had little choice but to sign the power limiting document and move on. [Illustration from Cassell's History of England (1902)] (This annotation contains an image)
This 5 minute video explains why the Magna Carta is considered to be a major stepping stone towards greater human rights for people everywhere.  (This annotation contains a video)
What agreement is the king making here in the Magna Carta's point #14? 
Why would the barons want to require that reliable witness testimony be heard in court?   
William and Mary served as co-regents after the Glorious Revolution. They were the first to rule under the English Bill of Rights, and are remembered fondly for their willingness to work with Parliament. (This annotation contains an image)
Parliament would want monarchs to seek their approval before printing or spending money for all of the following reasons EXCEPT 
Protections against excessive bail, fines and cruel and unusual punishments help insure that   
Considering all of the provisions in the English Bill of Rights, one gets the sense that Parliament was greatly concerned with 
John Trumbull's "The Declaration of Independence" (1819). (This annotation contains an image)
In this short clip you will get some background information about what motivated the push for independence. It also breaks down why the document is considered unique and revolutionary.  (This annotation contains a video)
A.) Think about your mindset when you are told not to do something, or when you disagree with those who hold authority over you. How do you feel? How do you want to respond?B.) Now look at Jefferson's introduction. What basic human feeling is he trying to convey about how members of the Continental Congress were feeling about their British colonial masters? Is this similar to your own emotions? Explain. 
Jefferson notes that Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" are unalienable rights.  These words reinforced the Enlightenment concept of  
In this brief clip from the History Channel you will get an idea about the purpose of this document. It is important to realize that it was created during the French Revolution, which was a chaotic time when citizens demanded more of the French leadership and redefined the notion of sovereignty.  (This annotation contains a video)
The Declaration of the Rights of Man were created after the other documents you have studied. Based on the preamble, which historical documents, and/or eras seem to have had the biggest influence on the French? 
This political cartoon from the 1700s portrays the social hierarchy of Pre-Revolution France. Prior to the French Revolution, citizens of the nation were divided into three estates, or social classes. Although the working class and poor made up more than 90% of the citizenry, they had no voice in government and were taxed the most, while the nobility and the Church enjoyed very low taxes and a luxurious lifestyle.  (This annotation contains an image)
A.) Points 5-9 deal with due process of law, and the legal system in France. Based on the new requirements they establish, what can you infer about how citizens were treated prior to the creation of this document?  B.) The U.S. Bill of Rights protects similar rights. Do you think these protections work well in our own justice system? Explain, and please use examples to make your points. 
Point #6 originated directly from the author's desire to do away with the preferential treatment nobility and the Church received under the old French 
Right 11 (protecting freedom of speech) can be attributed to the Enlightenment thinker 
In this 9 minute clip a very complete summary of the evolution of human rights is presented. It does a nice job of showing the causes and effects at each stage of progress humanity has made. (This annotation contains a video)
After studying all four of the documents, what do you believe are the features a government needs to promote an protect in order to be democratic and just? Please use examples to explain and support your points. 
Democratic Foundations Review