Decoding the Declaration of the Rights of Man - 1789
Truth or Idea to be Taught: Students will be able to explain the big ideas of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the original goals of the French Revolution. Students will be able to explain why the Declaration of the Rights of Man is an important event in world history.
Time needed: 1 to 2 class periods depending on student age
Preparation: Questions to raise the students’ awareness about what they already know about the truth of the lesson.
The teacher will:
Ask students what they already know about the French Revolution.
Ask the following questions if needed to generate discussion:
What were the some of the major causes of the French Revolution?
What were the Three Estates in France?
What powers and privileges did the different estates have?
Who are some of the important people of the Enlightenment? What were some of the goals of the Enlightenment?
What country declared itself independent from England in 1776?
What are some of the key words, phrases, or ideas in the Declaration of Independence?
What are some of the key words, phrases, or ideas in the Bill of Rights?
Are there any documents, ideas, or laws that influence you as a person today?
The teacher will provide a copy of the Declaration of the Rights of Man to each student. The teacher could use a copy from the Avalon Project from Yale Law School. (A copy is provided for the teacher in this lesson plan)
Students will need a highlighter or a pen/pencil to highlight/underline key ideas from the Declaration of Independence.
Students will highlight or underline parts of the Declaration of the Rights of Man that fall into the following three categories:
Rights of Man or Freedoms of the People
Law and Punishment
Public Obligations/For the Good of the Nation
(You could have also have students use a different color highlighter or colored pencil for each category)
Have students work individually and then in small groups to identify the key ideas within the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Make sure to write the categories on a marker board, or if needed use the simple categories worksheet below and have students fill in the information.
Lastly, students will examine the following YouTube videos:
French Revolution in a Nut Shell Video Clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEZqarUnVpo
The French Revolution ("Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga)
This lesson plan is included in The French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars Lesson Plan Collection
Individual French Revolution Lesson Plans:
French Revolution Webquest
The Beginning of the French Revolution Primary Source Worksheet
The French Revolution in 3 Minutes Video Worksheet
French Revolution: Decoding the Declaration of the Rights of Man Primary Source Worksheet
The Execution of King Louis XVI Primary Source Worksheet
Individual Napoleonic Wars Lesson Plans:
Napoleon Timeline Webquest (French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars)
Napoleon in 5 Minutes Video Worksheet
Napoleonic War: The Battle of Trafalgar Primary Source Worksheet
Battle of Waterloo Webqust (Napoleonic Wars)
Battle of Waterloo Primary Source Worksheet and Writing Activity
The Battle of Waterloo Video Webquest
Napoleon Exiled to St. Helena Primary Source Worksheet
Please check out the following lesson plan collections that have some or all of my French Revolution and Napoleonic War Lesson Plans:
American and World History Primary Sources Worksheet Collection
World History and World Geography Collection (History Wizard)
American History, World History, and Geography Collection (History Wizard)
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The History Wizard