Lesson Title: Character Trial of Benedict Arnold
1. What is "propaganda"? How has propaganda been used throughout history to change our understanding of the past?
2. In what ways is history changeable? Why might people want to change our memory of the past?
2. Who was Benedict Arnold? How has our understanding of Benedict Arnold's contributions to the history of America been altered by propaganda and the desire to change our understanding of our past?
Students will analyze a small collection of differentiated primary and secondary documents that showcase the events, contributions, and character of Benedict Arnold. These primary documents will include letters to and from Arnold, as well as period documents about him that put him in both a positive and negative light. They will then analyze more modern sources, including videos, websites, and excerpts from books that that expose more extreme biases and propaganda. Students will perform "close reading" activities with each document, and then form an informed opinion about the character of Arnold. The students will then write a brief persuasive essay about Arnold that will be used to form the basis of a formal "Magnetic Debate". This debate will serve as the sumative assessment for the lesson.