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Teaching Guide

Teaching The Federalists: Hamilton, Washington & Adams

Hamilton, Washington, and Adams, oh my!

GO TO STUDENT LEARNING GUIDE

Believe it or not, America used to be an immature nation. A baby, even. Your job is to show students that the country wasn't born in day—it was a long process full of great achievements and plenty of mistakes.

In this guide you will find

  • lessons analyzing one of the most important figures of the time (a.k.a. that dude on the $1 bill).
  • related historical resources on The American Revolution, the War of 1812, and Thomas Jefferson, among other things.
  • discussion questions on early American diplomacy.

And much more.

Our teaching guide will help you guide students through the birth of a nation (and we don't mean the horribly racist film).

What's Inside Shmoop's History Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring history to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 3-5 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

Objective: As we mentioned in our activity on Revising the Sedition Act, it's not always easy to define what is and what isn't free speech. Or to determine to what extent speech, in general, should be protected. Today, you can help your students zero in on their own personal definitions of free speech.

In this exercise your students will consider several quotations that present differing conceptions of the freedom of speech. They'll clarify their understanding of this right by adopting the quotation that they find most compatible with their views and defending it in a class discussion.

Length of Lesson: One class period.

Materials Needed: 

  • Quotations about free speech, provided in Step One

Step One: It's time for your students to decide what free speech means to them. Share these quotations with your students. As you read through them, encourage students to try to choose the quote that most fully reflects their views. 

"A function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger."
– Justice William Douglas, Terminiello v. City of Chicago, 1949

"In every country where man is free to think and to speak, differences of opinion will arise from difference of perception, and the imperfection of reason; but these differences when permitted, as in this happy country, to purify themselves by free discussion, are but as passing clouds overspreading our land transiently and leaving our horizon more bright and serene."
– Thomas Jefferson, 1801

"The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic."
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Schenck v. United States, 1919

"To promote the improvement of Society it is essential that Mind should be free. Unless individuals are permitted to reflect and communicate their sentiments upon every topic, it is impossible that they should progress in knowledge."
– Tunis Wortman, 1800

"Utterances inciting to the overthrow of organized government by unlawful means . . . by their very nature, involve danger to the public peace and to the security of the State. . . . A single revolutionary spark may kindle a fire that, smoldering for a time, may burst into a sweeping and destructive conflagration."
– Justice Edward Terry Sanford, Gitlow v. New York, 1925

Step Two: Give students 10 minutes to freewrite about the quote of their choice. In their writing, they should try to zero in on why this quote resonates with them and why it does a better job than the other quotes in representing their beliefs about free speech. They must be prepared to defend their selection and, most importantly, explain why the others are flawed or incomplete in representing their views.

Step Three: Ask your students to share their choices, and orchestrate a discussion surrounding these. To give focus to the discussion, tell your students that by the end of the discussion they must unite behind one quotation.

Instructions for Your Students

You love a good quote, right? Of course you do! 

Admit it: you jot down your favorites, post them online, tweet and text them to your friends, paste them up in your locker, discuss them over latte while wearing your beret and listening to Edith Piaf.

Or maybe you don't do any of that. Still, quotes are cool. And what better way to define freedom of speech than by using a quote about free speech

Answer: There is no better way. So let's get to it.

Step One: What does the freedom of speech mean to you? Take a look at these quotes and decide which one most fully reflects your views.

"A function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger."
– Justice William Douglas,
Terminiello v. City of Chicago, 1949

"In every country where man is free to think and to speak, differences of opinion will arise from difference of perception, and the imperfection of reason; but these differences when permitted, as in this happy country, to purify themselves by free discussion, are but as passing clouds overspreading our land transiently and leaving our horizon more bright and serene." 
– Thomas Jefferson, 1801

"The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic."
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Schenck v. United States, 1919

"To promote the improvement of Society it is essential that Mind should be free. Unless individuals are permitted to reflect and communicate their sentiments upon every topic, it is impossible that they should progress in knowledge."
– Tunis Wortman, 1800

"Utterances inciting to the overthrow of organized government by unlawful means . . . by their very nature, involve danger to the public peace and to the security of the State. . . . A single revolutionary spark may kindle a fire that, smoldering for a time, may burst into a sweeping and destructive conflagration."
– Justice Edward Terry Sanford, Gitlow v. New York, 1925

Step Two: Take 10 minutes to freewrite about the quote of your choice. In your writing, try to zero in on why this quote resonates with you and why it does a better job than the other quotes of representing your beliefs about free speech. 

You must be prepared to defend your selection and, most importantly, explain why the others are flawed or incomplete in representing your views.

Step Three: Share your quote of choice—and your reasoning—with your teacher and classmates and listen to what others came up with. Your teacher will help to facilitate a class discussion about everyone's choices. 

Your goal as a class? By the end of the discussion you must unite behind one quotation. May the best quote win!

WANT MORE HELP TEACHING THE FEDERALISTS: HAMILTON, WASHINGTON & ADAMS?

Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary & Analysis    Timeline    People    Facts    Photos    Best of the Web    Citations    
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