Basic Principles Held by American Citizens
Basic American Principles
- Teacher-selected books that review some basic principles held by American citizens that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and equality under the law
- Explain that the Founders of the United States believed that people have certain natural rights. Natural rights include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness or property. All persons have natural rights just because they are human beings. Everyone is born with these rights. No one can take these rights away. These natural rights are also called basic principles held by American citizens.
- Explain the importance of these basic principles to American citizens.
• Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are privileges that people are born with and that cannot be taken away.
• Life is the right to live without fear of being injured or killed by others.
• Liberty is the right to be free. Some examples of liberties are the rights to believe what you wish, to speak freely, and to travel wherever you wish to go.
• Pursuit of happiness is the right to own things such as books, a house, land, or a business.
- Explain that another basic principle held by American citizens is equality under the law. This means that all people are treated fairly.
- Read teacher-selected books that review some basic principles held by American citizens that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and equality under the law.
- Explain to the students that citizens have worked to defend American principles.
- Explain that American people come from diverse ethnic and national origins and are united as Americans by basic American principles.
- Point out that being an American is defined by the shared basic principles of the republican form of government.
- Review the concept that a republican form of government is a representative democracy.
- Guide the students to understand that the American people come from different ethnic origins and different countries, but are united as Americans by the basic principles of a republican form of government, including individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and equality under the law.
- Point out the following benefits of diversity: