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Understanding the English Bill of Rights

Produced by Dan Lynch, Gabrielino High School, 2005

1. Introduction

The purpose of this lesson is for students to gain a basic understanding of the principles of the English Bill of Rights within the historical context of the Glorious Revolution. After listening to a summary description of the time period by the teacher and watching a brief video clip, students working in small groups will demonstrate their understanding of a particular article from the English Bill of Rights by creating posters which display a rewriting of the article in their own words and an illustration that represents the meaning of the article. At the conclusion of the lesson, groups will share their work with the class, and the teacher will lead a discussion regarding the meaning of each article.

2. Relevant California History Social-Science Standards

10.2 Students compare and contrast the Glorious Revolution of England, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution and their enduring effects worldwide on the political expectations for self-government and individual liberty.

  • Compare the major ideas of philosophers and their effects on the democratic revolutions in England, the United States, France, and Latin America (e.g., John Locke, Charles-Louis Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Simón Bolívar, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison).
  • List the principles of the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights (1689), the American Declaration of Independence (1776), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789), and the U.S. Bill of Rights (1791).
  • Understand the unique character of the American Revolution, its spread to other parts of the world, and its continuing significance to other nations.
  • Explain how the ideology of the French Revolution led France to develop from constitutional monarchy to democratic despotism to the Napoleonic empire.
  • Discuss how nationalism spread across Europe with Napoleon but was repressed for a generation under the Congress of Vienna and Concert of Europe until the Revolutions of 1848.

Source: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/histsocscistnd.pdf

3. Materials

  • "The Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights" and "Teacher’s Guide to the Articles" (both articles are provided below).
  • Photocopies for the entire class of "The Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights" (optional).
  • Photocopies for the entire class of the English Bill of Rights http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1689billofrights.html
  • Articles 3-13 of the English Bill of Rights on separate strips of paper.
  • Eleven large sheets of butcher paper.
  • Colored markers (preferably eleven sets of at least three different colors).
  • Dictionaries (as many copies as possible, but ideally eleven).

4. Preparation

  • Familiarize oneself with Standard 10.2 (above), the full text of the English Bill of Rights, and both articles provided with this lesson: "The Glorious Revolution and The English Bill of Rights" and "Teacher’s Guide to the Articles."
  • Download, print, and photocopy for the entire class "The Glorious Revolution and The English Bill of Rights" (optional).
  • Photocopy the English Bill of Rights for the entire class.
  • Photocopy one additional copy of the English Bill of Rights and cut articles 3-13 into individual strips.
  • Divide class into eleven mixed-ability groups of two to four students each.
  • Distribute butcher paper and colored pens to each group.
  • Distribute dictionaries to each group or, if not possible, make multiple dictionaries available throughout the classroom.

5. Activities

  • Using information from "Glorious Revolution and English Bill of Rights," as well as other sources if desired, teacher gives brief introductory lecture. Students can also read the article in class or read the article for homework the night before.
  • Students view a brief film clip dealing with time period—the last ten minutes of the episode "Revolutions" from Simon Schama’s series The History of Britain is recommended.
  • Teacher talks class through translation and illustration of articles one and two as examples using information from "Teacher’s Guide to the Articles."
  • Teacher passes out strips with articles three through thirteen, one to each group.
  • Student groups create posters related to their article in two steps:

a. Translate the article into simple modern language using the dictionary to understand difficult vocabulary. The translation should be written on the poster in writing that is large enough to be read from across the room.

b. Draw a simple illustration that creatively represents the meaning of the article. The illustration should be clearly visible from across the room.

  • Draw a simple illustration that creatively represents the meaning of the article. The illustration should be clearly visible from across the room.
  • Teacher may choose to have students assigned to specific roles, for example: recorder, illustrator, and presenter.
  • Teacher passes out copies of the complete English Bill of Rights to all students.
  • Students post their posters around the room and take turns sharing their work with the class.
  • Teacher leads a discussion of the articles using information provided in "Teacher’s Guide to the Articles."

6. Assessment

Suggested grading checklist:

  • ____: Poster is neatly prepared and the writing can be easily read from across the room.
  • ____: Translation of the article reveals thoughtful analyses as well as the application of historical knowledge.
  • ____: Illustration is an original and creative representation of the article’s meaning.
  • ____: Oral presentation clearly communicates the group’s modern translation of the article and effectively explains the meaning behind the group’s illustration.

The teacher may also want to require students to take structured notes during the group presentations and class discussion. For example, students could record the modern translations of each article in their notes. The teacher may also want to incorporate the content of the articles into the next test or quiz. For example, a matching section on a test might require students to match articles with written descriptions of their meaning.

6. Bibliography

  • Beck, Roger B. et al. Modern World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston: McDougal Littell, 2001.
  • Cruickshanks, Eveline. The Glorious Revolution. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000.
  • Israel, Jonathan ed. The Anglo-Dutch Moment. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
  • McKay, John P. et al. A History of Western Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
  • Schama, Simon and others. A History of Britain. 8 videocassettes (900 min.) videorecording. A&E Television Networks, 2002.
  • Schwoerer, Louis G. The Declaration of Rights, 1689. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981.
  • Schwoerer, Lois G. ed. The Revolution of 1688-1689: Changing Perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • Smith, James L. Ideas That Shape A Nation. Las Cruces: Suncrest Publications, 2000.

Download 8 page article, The Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights and the Teacher's Guide to the Articles

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