Growing from Planted Seeds
Our democracy is maintained in part through philanthropic actions inspired by the Core Democratic Values. In the absence of these values, injustice such as the Japanese Internment following the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II goes unchecked. Students have the opportunity to engage in philanthropic action to promote and protect the values that ensure our democracy.
The learner will:
- identify actions of the American government and people during World War II that violated Core Democratic Values (Japanese Americans in internment camps).
- list ways Core Democratic Values can be enhanced through philanthropic action for the common good.
- I Am an American (see Bibliography)
- Victory at Sea Series: Volume I videotape (see Bibliography)
- Core Democratic Values vs. Japanese Internment (hanout below)
- Rubric for Assessment Essay (handout)
Students send letters of appreciation and encouragement to people currently serving in the military. They write about what they have learned about maintaining our democracy through philanthropic action to enhance Core Democratic Values. The following criteria may be used to assess student work: correct language, mechanical usage, mention a minimum of three Core Democratic Values and their importance, two specific statements of gratitude for their military service.
- Roosevelt, Franklin D. Executive Order 9066. Washington, D.C: The White House, February 19, 1942. [http://www.cis.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1982/3/82.03.01.x.html#a]
- Stanley, Jerry. I Am an American. New York: Random House, 1994. ISBN: 0517597861
- Victory at Sea Series: Volume I. Embassy Home Entertainment, 1986 (available at most public libraries, call # 940.545 VIC). ASIN: 078060900X
Ask students to imagine or recall a time when they were aware of a rumor spreading about themselves or someone they care about. Discuss the impact of rumors and why rumors exist and how they get spread and exaggerated.
Recall that the "seeds of democracy" (the Core Democratic Values) maintain and preserve democracy. Students may be farmers who plant the "seeds" by taking voluntary action, according to their values, for the common good. Encourage students to take an active role as learners during this lesson by not only thinking and reflecting with their minds, but also with their hearts from a personal standpoint.
Ask students what event occurred within the United States during World War II that posed a great internal threat to our democracy. Then show approximately a five-minute video clip of the Pearl Harbor attack (see bibliography). When fear took hold, the government and its people acted unfairly by violating the rights of Japanese Americans.
Read to students "Chapter Eight: Executive Order No. 9066." Remind students that, although the Core Democratic Values are the ideals by which citizens live and act, the Japanese Interment leaves those values in question.
Stop periodically to invite student comments and reflection. They may reflect on the more current treatment of Muslim Americans after the September 11, 2001 attack.
Engage in meaningful discussion of how the perspectives of government leaders led to the internment. Discuss the responses of the Japanese Americans. Many believed that Japanese Americans were not only disloyal, but also aiding Japanese in conspiring to harm America. Be sure to discuss the perspective of those who showed support for the Japanese Americans.
Have students identify actions from the reading that are enhancing or violating Core Democratic Values.
Use Core Democratic Values vs. Japanese Internment (handout) when each situation is pointed out. Have students (individually or with a partner) write down a description of the example, the Core Democratic Value in question, whether it is being enhanced or violated, and by whom.
Read the following paragaph from Chapter Eight of I Am an American: "It was easy to be resentful," Shi said. "We had lost our possessions and had been confined by barbed wire and guard towers, and we were still viewed by some as the enemy. I remember a woman in Denver and her two children staring at us. They seemed to come closer for a better look, and I felt like some strange new animal they had never seen before. I turned to her and shouted, 'I am an American citizen! Don't you understand?' Everything stopped and she looked at me and nodded, as if she understood. I have often thought about this woman, who didn't know us at all. We didn't know her, but in the brief moment she saw the injustice of our situation. I wonder why there weren't more like her."
Students write an essay in response to this paragraph with the following criteria:
- Select three Core Democratic Values.
- Describe a supporting example for how each of the three values was enhanced or violated u
- For that example, explain how the gap between the ideal of the value and the reality of the action should have been different. Relate to the statement, "I wonder why there weren't more like her,"
The following are suggested examples:
Patriotism - enhanced - Japanese Americans are attempting to prove their loyalty to America by waving the American flag, buying war bonds, donating blood, and buying bombs for attacking Tokyo.
Justice - enhanced - California Congressman Leland Ford said, "These people are American-born. This is their country." United States Attorney General Francis Biddle declared, "At no time will the government engage in wholesale condemnation of any alien group."
Truth - violated - A government investigation of the bombing of Pearl Harbor suggested that Japanese farmers had planted their crops in the shape of arrows pointing to Pearl Harbor as the target. Although the charge of Japanese sabotage on Hawaii was totally false, newspaper writers and radio broadcasters began warning of the danger of Japanese sabotage on the west coast.
Equality & Diversity - violated - Prejudice against the Japanese, building in California since 1906, was based on the idea that race, not citizenship, determined loyalty to America.
Individual Rights - violated - On March 2, DeWitt announced that all Japanese, regardless of citizenship, would be evacuated from Restricted Area Number One, the entire west coast, and placed in relocation camps.
Teacher note: Encourage students to look at the powerful black and white photographs in the book, I Am an American, which clearly and powerfully portray the Japanese internment.
This lesson, in conjunction with the others in this unit, can provide the opportunity for students to encourage their peers not only to act upon personal and civic values, but also apply those values by giving of time, talent, and treasure.
Students can make an appeal to and assist their school leadership council with clarifying values of the group. This would be an opportunity for students to teach the council about the Core Democratic Values and brainstorm ways they can be enhanced within the school setting.
Sharing content learned from World War II and Japanese Internment will serve as powerful motivating factors for the importance of action in accordance with the Core Democratic Values for the purpose of preserving democracy.
Provide students with Rubric for Assessment Essay (handout).
This lesson, in conjunction with the others in this unit, can provide the opportunity for students to encourage their peers not only to act upon personal and civic values, but also apply those values by giving of time, talent, and treasure. Students can make an appeal to and assist their school leadership council with clarifying values of the group. (See Instructional Procedures.)
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
Benchmark MS.6 Describe how the founding documents and fundamental democratic principles encourage citizens to act philanthropically.
Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
Benchmark MS.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.