Voting Rights and the U.S. Constitution Primary Source Analysis for High School

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Little Shop of History
Grade Levels
9th - 12th
Formats Included
  • Zip
18 pages; 21 slides
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In this high school U.S. History, Civics, or Government lesson, students will analyze the 1787 Constitution, various Constitutional amendments, and the Voting Rights Act, allowing them to: understand what the document originally said about voting rights; trace changes in the Constitution pertaining to voting; uncover when and why significant changes to voting have occurred; and explore limitations that still exist today. The lesson is recommended for a U.S. History unit on the 1950s-1960s Civil Rights Movement, as students will be better able to contextualize the amendments in the lesson given they already have background knowledge on the history of the nation until the post-war period. Alternatively, the lesson can be useful in a variety of other ways, including as a supplement to a unit on voting in the United States.

In addition to analyzing and interpreting 8 primary sources, students are also introduced to several state laws that have historically been used to limit voting rights, but are unlawful today, and are tasked with identifying the amendment or act that upended the law. Finally, three writing prompts are included that ask students to further engage with the material provided in the lesson. The prompts touch on themes including: felony voter restrictions, the 2013 Supreme Court case that deemed Section 4b to the Voting rights Act unconstitutional, and voting rights in presidential elections for citizens in Puerto Rico.

The resource downloads as a zip file with a semi - editable PDF that contains the Instructor Guide and Printable Materials. A semi - editable PPT is also included with the digital version of the student pages. The PDF Instructor Guide also includes a clickable link for access to a Google Slides™ version (same as the PPT included). The GS version is not editable to ensure students cannot delete directions, information, text boxes, etc... Instructions are provided on how to modify the digital version in PPT and easily transport to GS!

This download includes:

1 zip folder with the following:

(semi – editable PDF) Instructor Guide and Print Materials

  • 3 pages: Instructor Guide
  • 9 pages, Student Pages
  • 6 pages, Key

(semi – editable PPT) Digital Student Pages

  • 21 slides

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Total Pages
18 pages; 21 slides
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 days
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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, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


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