Author:
ESU Coordinating Council, Nebraska OER
Subject:
History, U.S. History
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Level:
Middle School
Grade:
8
Tags:
  • History
  • IDM
  • NE SS
  • Nebraska Department of Education
  • history
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Language:
    English

    Education Standards

    Federalists v. Anti-Federalists

    Federalists v. Anti-Federalists

    Overview

    This inquiry looks at the debate between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, and how federalism is still impacting the United States today.

    Resource created by Andrew Heller, Wynot Public Schools, as part of the Nebraska ESUCC Social Studies Special Projects 2022 - Inquiry Design Model (IDM).

    Inquiry Question

    The compelling question asks “Who should have more power, the national government or the state governments?”

     

    Supporting Questions

    1. How was the government set up under the Articles of Confederation? What were the benefits and limitations?
    2. How did Shays’ Rebellion lead to the government changing and the Constitutional Convention?
    3. What were the arguments of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists?

    Overview & Description

    This inquiry looks at the debate between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, and how federalism is still impacting the United States today.

     

    Inquiry Description

    The Federalists and Anti-Federalists had many heated debates over the size of the government and what role it should play in the United States. In this inquiry, students will examine the formation of the first government of the United States, the Articles of Confederation. The students will then look at the benefits and limitations of the Articles. The students will then study Shays’ Rebellion and analyze this event's role in changing the government. The students will then examine pictures from the Constitutional Convention. Lastly the students will start to form arguments that the Federalists and Anti-Federalists had. They will use these arguments for a class discussion over federalism and how big the government should be. The extension and taking informed action will ask students to apply their knowledge of federalism to future and current events in United States history.

     The students will need to have some background knowledge of the early events in the creation of the federal government and the Constitutional Convention.

     You will need to make copies of all the Google documents so you and your students can edit them. The times are suggestions but this inquiry will take six to ten days depending on how in-depth you decide to go on the extension and taking informed action activities.

     

    Nebraska Standards (2019):

    • SS 8.4.1 - Analyze patterns of continuity and change over time in the United States history.
    • SS 8.4.4 - Evaluate and interpret sources for perspective and historical context.
    • SS 8.4.5 - Apply the inquiry process to construct and answer historical  questions.

    Staging the Compelling Question

    The students will fill out the staging-the-question chart. They will think about how decisions are made in their family. As you finish the activity, remind the class that the adults in this would represent the national government/Federalists, the kids would represent the state governments/Anti-Federalists, and the shared would represent federalism. This is a review of federalism and how the different levels of government interact with each other.

     See attached: Federalist v. Anti-Federalists Staging

     

    The students will fill out the top part of the empower learner chart. They will come back to this chart and fill in the rest at the conclusion of the unit.

     See attached: Empower Learner Activity

     

    Supporting Question #1

    How was the government set up under the Articles of Confederation? What were the benefits and limitations?

     

    Featured Source A: Background on Broadsides (5 minutes)

    This article from the Library of Congress will provide background information on Broadsides and other primary documents. This can be reviewed by the teacher and shared or can be together as a class.

    Featured Source B: Broadside of Articles of Confederation (5-10 minutes)

    Students will examine a broadside of the Articles of Confederation. Have them mostly focus on the first page of the broadside. Have the students get into groups of 3-4 and answer some guiding questions about the broadside. Give them 3-5 minutes to examine and answer the questions. Then bring the class together and discuss the groups’ answers.

    • How did they spread information in the 1700s?
      • Teacher Note:  Refer back to the article about broadsides and their importance
    • What did they mean by “perpetual union?”
      • Teacher Note:  Explain how this is a change going from the individual governments to one national government.
    • What is interesting about the states on the bottom?

    Featured Source C: Text of the Articles of Confederation (20-30 minutes)

    Students will read through the text of the Articles of Confederation to gain a better understanding of how the government was set up. Divide the students into groups to read through the Articles of Confederation. You can use the same groups from before. Each group will read through the Articles of Confederation and match each article to its simplified version. Give the students 10-15 minutes to read through the Articles and simplify it. After the groups have finished, have them complete the chart on the benefits and limitations of the Articles of Confederation.

     This template can be used for your students to fill out. There is a table on the first page and the simplified explanations on the second page. You need to print out the second page and cut out each bullet. They will then use these to match the articles with their explanation on the table: See attached: Articles of Confederation Simplified Template

     Here is an article you can use as a guide for filling out the template: Teacher’s Guide

     Here is a chart you can use for the benefit and limitation activity: See attached: Benefits and Limitations

    Supporting Question #2

    How did Shays’ Rebellion lead to the government changing and the Constitutional Convention?

     

    Featured Source A: Shays’ Rebellion Video (5 minutes)

    Show this short two minute video to the class to introduce Shays’ Rebellion to the students. Even if you have covered it before this is a quick reminder of the event.

    Featured Source B: Washington and Jefferson Quotes Over Shays’ Rebellion (see attached) (15-20 minutes)

    Students will read through the quotes from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson about Shays’ Rebellion. Have the students silently read through the quotes and fill in the top portion of the table. They need to find direct quotes from Washington and Jefferson and describe what they mean. After, have them get in groups of four to compare their quotes and determine the stance of Washington and Jefferson on the Rebellion. Have an entire group discussion after the groups have finished. See attached: Washington and Jefferson

    Featured Source C: Drawing of the Constitutional Convention (10-15 minutes)

    Featured Source D: Leaders of the Constitutional Convention

    Students will study the two pictures from the Constitutional Convention. They will complete a See-Think-Wonder activity of the pictures. This can be done individually or in small groups. Have a class discussion after they have studied the pictures.  See Attached: See-Think-Wonder Template

    Supporting Question #3

    What were the arguments of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists?

     

    Featured Source A: Political Cartoon (5-10 minutes)

    Students will examine the political cartoon on the ratification of the Constitution. Have them study it with a partner and discuss what they see in the picture. Have them read the text and look at the columns.

    Guiding questions you could use:

    • What do the columns represent?
    • What is the text implying?

    Featured Source B: Federalist v. Anti-Federalist Video (20-40 minutes)

    Featured Source C: Federalist v. Anti-Federalist Infographic

    Featured Source D: Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers Excerpts (see attached)

    Divide the class into three groups. They will go to three different stations for 5-10 minutes. One station is a video that provides background information on the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Another is an infographic looking at the same thing. The last station are excerpts from The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers. At each station they will fill in the worksheet below. They will continue to add to the worksheet as they go to the three stations. After the three groups have finished, have a group discussion to make sure everyone has filled in the information on their worksheet.  See attached: Federalist v. Anti-Federalist

    Summative Performance Task

    Prepare an argument in favor of the Federalist or the Anti-Federalists. Divide the class in half: half are Federalists and half are Anti-Federalists. Individually they will develop a three paragraph argument for their side that will be used during a whole class discussion of this topic. This can be assigned as homework or can be completed in class. After students have prepared their arguments, have a class discussion. This activity could take 45-90 minutes.

     See attached pdf: Guide for Civil Discourse

     See attached pdf: Argument Rubric

     

    Taking Informed Action

    Students will find examples of this debate at work in the United States today and apply their knowledge of this debate to current events. Examples could include abortion, gun rights, voting rights, critical race theory in schools, etc. They will then take a stance and prepare an argument on one of these topics that could be shared with a representative in the government. This activity could take 45-90 minutes.