Challenges to Civil Liberties Primary Source Lesson

Grade Levels
8th - 11th
Formats Included
  • PDF
18 pages
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This engaging lesson plan on Challenges to Civil Liberties in American History is an excellent way to promote critical analysis of the ways fundamental rights can be taken away.

The lesson includes the following 8 primary source documents (both images of the original document and printed text are included):

  • Naturalization Act of 1789
  • Alien Friends Act of 1789
  • Alien Enemies Act of 1789
  • Sedition Act of 1789
  • Abraham Lincoln Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus
  • Abraham Lincoln and the Press
  • Sedition Act of 1918
  • Executive Order 9066

A 2-page worksheet has your students determining the purpose of each and then analyzing whether each violates the Constitution. A complete answer key is included for this as well for your convenience.

The is great as a station activity to allow your students to work together and move around the room analyzing each one. Or, you can use the included Google Doc to allow students to work online. Either way makes for an excellent lesson in a unit on Civil Liberties!

This resources can also be downloaded as part of my Civil Liberties & Civil Rights Unit Bundle.

You can also find more of my great American Government activities here!

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Total Pages
18 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.


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