This inquiry requires students to evaluate and critique the general understanding of the founding principles that shape the United States. Through this inquiry, students recognize that the founding principles of the United States were revolutionary but did not apply to everyone. This understanding stems from their discussion and categorization of the triumphs and shortcomings of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. Students also recognize how the debate over slavery is imbedded in the foundations of our nation.
Additionally, students will investigate and critique the “stock story” of the creation of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution (Bell, 2010) while evaluating the founding documents (Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution) and engaging in civil discourse regarding our democracy. Through exploration and discussion, students will learn that history can be romanticized or distorted to promote a story and will question of implications of this.
Students will engage in social justice work by challenging normative thought regarding our nation’s founding documents. Students will consider the voices of those who were overlooked and disregarded as the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were written and consider the lasting impact of this action. This inquiry embodies the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center principles of courage and perseverance. When challenging a “stock story” and broadening people’s understanding, they will learn that it takes courage to critique tightly held believes and perseverance to make a lasting impact on those beliefs.