Support Within the National Documents
Students will use national and state documents (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers # 10, state constitution) to find support for philanthropy.
The learner will find support for philanthropy in national and state documents.
Copy of the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights (optional), state constitution (optional), any other national document supporting democracy and/or philanthropy
Saffell, David C. Civics: Responsibilities and Citizenship. New York: Glencoe, 1998.
Review the concept of levels of government by naming the documents that will be used in the lesson and asking students to identify the level to which it refers.
Introduce each document and ask students to identify the purpose of and year each document was written. Elicit prior knowledge on each document, listing correct facts generated on the front board.
Explain the organization of the document. For example, The Constitution:
- Articles 1-7
- Each Article contains numbered sections
- Each numbered section contains numbered paragraphs
- Bill of Rights (Amendments I through X)
- Other amendments
Review the meaning of democracy (government by the people, typically through elected representatives).
Put the students into groups of two or three. Have the teams explore each document for supportive evidence of democracy: What evidence do we as citizens have that our accepted political system is a democracy? Encourage students to look beyond the blatant definitions of the terms and to look for support of the terms. Students must list their examples on paper. After five to seven minutes, have the groups share their supportive evidence. Write these examples on the board.
Review the meaning of philanthropy (the giving of one's time, talent or treasure for the common good). Following the same steps as above, have the students explore each document for supportive evidence of philanthropy: What evidence do we as citizens have that philanthropy is necessary for a strong democracy? Encourage students to look beyond the blatant definitions of the terms and to look for support of the terms. Students must list their examples on paper. After five to seven minutes, have the groups share their supportive evidence. Write these examples on the board.
Spend some time discussing the connections between philanthropy and the first and tenth amendments. How do these two amendments support the concept of philanthropy? (i.e., the government cannot meet all the needs of the people, so individual citizens must step forward to meet minority needs in society.)
Using the resources obtained during the lesson, have the learners write a letter to the school newspaper stating why philanthropy is important in a democratic society.
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
Benchmark HS.3 Explain and give examples of how a democratic constitution requires and protects philanthropic behavior as a democratic principle.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
Benchmark HS.6 Describe nonprofit advocacy organizations and their relationship to first amendment rights.
Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
Benchmark HS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.