Foundations of American Government
Session 3: Virginia Documents

Materials

  • Textbook
  • “Virginia Declaration of Rights — Excerpts” (Attachment C)
  • Computer with Internet access

Instructional Activities

  1. Lecture on the importance of the Charters of the Virginia Company of London.

  2. Explain the background of the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

  3. Distribute “Virginia Declaration of Rights — Excerpts” (Attachment C). Ask students to compare these passages with the Bill of Rights in their textbook. Write the number of the amendment beside the corresponding passage from the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

  4. Discuss the importance of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in Virginia and as a foundation for the Bill of Rights.

  5. Have students use the following Web sites for research on documents that influenced the formation of the American government:
    •     “Avalon Project.” Yale University.
    <http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/virginia.htm>.
    •     “Virginia Declaration of Rights.” Library of Virginia. <http://www.lva.virginia.gov/lib-edu/education/psd/nation/dofr.htm>.
    •     “Charters of Freedom.” The National Archives Experience. <http://www.archives.gov/national_archives_experience/virginia_declaration_of_rights>.
    •     “A Voice of Dissent: George Mason.”
    <http://www.virginiadeclarationofrights.com/>.

  6. Have students use materials from “Document Analysis Worksheets.” <http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/analysis_worksheets> to examine and analyze Virginia documents.

  7. For homework, ask students to read the section in the textbook on the Declaration of Independence.
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