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MiddleSchoolSocialStudies TheUnitedStatesConstitutionasaLivingDocument

NineteenthCenturyAmericanHistory

SCoPESiteLessonPlan

Title:Lesson2TheArticlesofConfederation(SS080102)

Abstract
InthislessonstudentsexplorethegovernmentestablishedundertheArticlesofConfederation.
AfterexaminingtheArticlesofConfederationasaclass,studentsworkinsmallgroupstoreview
how the various governmental powers were allocated under the Articles. They determine
whetherfederal,state,orbothgovernmentssharedthesepowersundertheArticles.Fromthese
data, students analyze someoftheproblems inherent intheArticles aswellas the positive
aspects of the Articles. The lesson culminates with students evaluating the Articles of
Confederationingroupsandproposingwaystoresolvetheproblemsthenewnationfacedunder
theArticlesofConfederation.

SubjectArea:SocialStudies

GradeLevelandCourseTitle:EighthGrade/NineteenthCenturyAmericanHistory

UnitofStudy:TheUnitedStatesConstitutionasaLivingDocument

Benchmark
DescribephilosophicalbeliefsthatinfluencedthecreationoftheUnitedStatesConstitution
andexplainhowtheysetthefoundationforciviclife,politics,andgovernmentintheUnited
States(I.1.MS.2,III.2.MS.1).

KeyConcepts
ArticlesofConfederation
limitedgovernment

InstructionalResources
Equipment/Manipulative
Overheadprojectorandoverheadsheets/markers

StudentResource
TheArticles of Confederation. The UniversityofOklahoma College ofLaw. 15Nov.2006
<http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/artconf.html>.

ConstitutionalTopic:ArticlesofConfederation. TheUnitedStatesConstitutionOnline.6Oct.
2006.15Nov.2006<http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_arti.html>.

TeacherResource
Articles of Confederation. The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. 15 Nov. 2006
<http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/artconf.htm#art1>.

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MiddleSchoolSocialStudies TheUnitedStatesConstitutionasaLivingDocument
NineteenthCenturyAmericanHistory

TheArticlesofConfederation. TheUnitedStatesConstitutionOnline.22Sept.2006.15Nov.
2006<http://www.usconstitution.net/articles.html>.

Caliguire,Augustine.U.S.HistoryBook1:America:CreatingtheDream,Beginningsto1865.
Calabasas,CA:TheCenterforLearning,2000.7176.

Heist,Melissa. SupplementalMaterials(SS08010201.doc). Teachermadematerial.Waterford,


MI:OaklandSchools,2007.

SequenceofActivities
1. Writethewordconfederationontheboardoronanoverheadtransparency.Askstudents
whattheythinkthetermmeans.Afterelicitingresponses,distributecopiesofTheArticlesof
Confederation, located at the University of Oklahoma College of Law website
<http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/artconf.html> which are also located in the Supplemental
Materials (SS08010201.doc). Read aloud with students the first three articles of the
document.Askstudentsiftheyhaveabetterideaofwhataconfederationis.Havestudents
sharetheirconceptanddefinitionofaconfederationwiththeclass.

2. Makeanddistributecopies ofthePowersundertheArticles ofConfederation graphic


organizerlocatedinthe SupplementalMaterials(SS08010201.doc). Havestudentsworkin
groupsoftwoorthreestudents eachtoinvestigate thepowers ofthestateandnational
(federal)governmentundertheArticlesofConfederation.Studentsmayusetheirtextbooks
oronlineresourcestocompletethegraphicorganizer.Itmaybehelpfultoreferstudentsto
thewebsiteConstitutionalTopic:ArticlesofConfederation.TheUnitedStatesConstitution
Online.<http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_arti.html>,whichgivesashortdescription
ofeacharticlecontainedintheArticlesofConfederation.

3. Asaclass,reviewthepowersofstate,nationalorbothgovernmentsbycreatinganoverhead
transparencyofthegraphicorganizerPowersundertheArticlesofConfederation.Have
studentssharetheinformationtheyresearchedinStep2withtheentireclass.Somepossible
answersinclude:
StateGovernmentalPowers
Taxation
Allpowersnotdelegatedtothenationalgovernment
Eachstatehaditsownjudicialsystem
Powertocollecttaxes
PowertoenforcelawspassedbyCongress
NationalGovernmentalPowers
Limitedpowers
Onebranchofgovernmentalegislaturewhichcarriedoutbothlegislativeand
executivefunctions
Powertopetitionoraskthestatesformoney
Tohaveembassiesandreceiveambassadors

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MiddleSchoolSocialStudies TheUnitedStatesConstitutionasaLivingDocument
NineteenthCenturyAmericanHistory
Tomakeandwagewar
Appointambassadors
Toenterintotreaties
Establishmaritimecourts
Authoritytosettleborderdisputesbetweenstates
RegulatetradewithIndiantribes
Setuppostofficesandchargepostage
Appointofficerstothearmyandnavy

4. SomeconsiderationshouldbegiventowhytheArticleswerestructuredthewaytheywere.
Discussthefollowingquestionswiththeclass:
WhatwasthemindsetofthestateswhentheycreatedtheArticlesofConfederation?
Whatdidsmallstatesfear?
What did all states fear? Encourage students to reflect on the experiences under the
Englishgovernment.

5. Guidethediscussionsothefocusisonthepowertotaxandthatthispowerwasheldbythe
states.Asktheclass,Whatproblemsmightthiscause?Whohasthepowertotaxtoday?Is
itdifferentthanitwasundertheArticles?Whydoyouthinkthischangewasmade?How
wasthegovernmentunderthe ArticlesofConfederation alimitedgovernment?Whatare
someexamplesofhowthegovernmentundertheArticlesofConfederationwaslimited?

6. Makecopies anddistribute to each studentthe chart, Strengths andWeaknesses ofthe


ArticlesofConfederation,locatedintheSupplementalMaterials(SS08010201.doc).Using
theirbooksandotherresources,havestudentsworkinpairstoidentifythestrengthsand
weaknessesoftheArticles ofConfederation. SomeoftheweaknessesintheArticles of
Confederationincluded:
Thenationalgovernmentdidnothavethepowertotax.Congresscouldonlyaskthe
statesformoney,buthadnoenforcementpowertoinsurecompliancewiththerequest.
Onevoteperstateregardlessofpopulation.
ThenationalgovernmentdidnothaveasystemtoenforcethedecisionsofCongress.
Nonationalcourtsystemtohelpinterpretlaws.Eachstatemaintaineditsownjudicial
system.
Amendmentsallowedonlywithunanimousconsentofthe13states.
Anydecisionbythenationalgovernmentthatinvolvedmoneyrequired9ofthe13states
toratifyit.
The national government was powerless to regulate foreign and interstate commerce
(tradebetweenandamongstates)eventhoughithadauthoritytodoso.Discusshowthe
differentcourtsystemsamongthestatesmadethisso.

7. Oncestudentshaveidentifiedseveralstrengthsandweaknesses,havethepairsofstudents
maketeams offourstudentseach.Havetheteams ofstudentsworktogether topropose
changestotheArticlesbasedonwhattheydeterminedwereitsweaknesses.Studentteams

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MiddleSchoolSocialStudies TheUnitedStatesConstitutionasaLivingDocument
NineteenthCenturyAmericanHistory
shoulddraftatleastonerevisiontotheArticlesofConfederationthatwouldsolveoneofthe
problemstheyidentified.Remindstudentstokeepinmindtheconsiderationsofthecolonists
whentheycraftedtheArticlesofConfederation.Theseconsiderationsshouldbetakeninto
account whenthestudents revisetheArticles. Makecopies ofRevising theArticles of
Confederation,locatedintheSupplementalMaterials(SS08010201.doc)anddistributeone
toeachstudent.Havethestudentsusethehandouttoorganizeanddirecttheirdiscussion.
StudentsshouldfilloutthehandoutinpreparationforStep8.

8. HavethesmallgroupssharetheirrevisionstotheArticleswiththeentireclass.Aseach
groupsharestheirrevision,asktheclassthefollowingquestions:
Whatproblemwastherevisiondesignedtoresolve?
Doesthisrevisionsolvetheproblem?Explain.
Doesthisrevisioncreateanewsetofproblems?
Howwouldanaturalrightsphilosopherevaluatethisprovision?Why?
Howwouldthisprovisionbeevaluatedunderthesocialcontracttheoryofgovernment?

Assessment
Studentknowledgeandtheapplicationoftheconceptsmaybeassessedinformallythroughtheir
workinSteps7and8.Foramoreformalassessment,havestudentswriteanessaydescribingat
leastthreechangestheywouldmaketotheArticlesofConfederationandexplainwhy.Theessay
shouldalsoexplaintheinfluenceofeithernaturalrightsphilosophyorthesocialcontracttheory
of government in developing a rationale for the changes and how these changes might be
receivedbythestates.

ApplicationBeyondSchool
Studentscouldusethenaturalrightsphilosophyandsocialcontracttheoryofgovernmentto
evaluatepublicofficialsandpublicpolicythataffectstheirownlives.Examplesofcivically
activecitizensinthecommunitymaybedescribedintermsthephilosophicalandtheoretical
underpinningseventhoughnewsreleasesabouttheircivicactivitiesmaynotbestatedinthose
terms. Students should identify the philosophical and theoretical foundations of civic
responsibilityasexemplifiedbypersonsintheirhomes,schools,cities,andstates.

Connections
EnglishLanguageArts
WhenstudentsexaminetheArticlesofConfederation,theyreadinformationaltext.

When students share and discuss revisions to the Articles of Confederation, they use
communicationsskills.

WhenstudentswriterevisionstotheArticlesofConfederation,theyemploythewritingprocess.

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