James Madison was a quiet, small man with a history of illness. Reading and learning were great passions of his. He was extremely intelligent and a great thinker. Perhaps a little shy, he did not enjoy speaking to a audience, but did so when he felt it was absolutely necessary. He was a framer of the Constitution and became president of the United States.
Patrick Henry, on the other hand, was a tall, out-spoken man who liked being the center of attention. He began his oratory career arguing in a courthouse and continued making long speeches as a member of the Virginia House of Burgess. By some peers he was seen as a great speaker who sometimes lacked the intelligence or thought behind his words.
Both Patrick and James were opposed to taxes levied on the colonies by the British, but that is the major extent of their agreement. James Madison believed in the Constitution and worked to convince other colonial leaders of its necessity. Conversely, Patrick Henry thought each state should be independent and any document linking the colonies needed, at minimum, a bill of rights.
As it turned out, Madison and those in favor of a constitution won out. After many long months of discussion, the Constitution was ratified without a bill of rights.
Kids RightsPropaganda, protests and public demonstrations are major ways people fight for change. I asked my daughter to think about the rights she felt she deserved. When discussing rights it is important to note that a "right" should not indirectly enslave another person. Therefore, if my daughter said it was her right to be served dinner every night I would have argued with her because being served would have required me or another individual to do the serving. In contrast, it would have been alright if she declared it her right to choose whether or not she ate dinner each night. Granted, this example could lead to discussions of charity, mother's duty, and people facing starvation, but the point was to discuss the difference between a right and a desire.
Rights are tricky to understand and this is one area in which we as a nation have currently lost our way. Studying American history gives us a great opportunity to discuss the difference between a right and a privilege.
Therefore, after reading about how these early American patriots fought for rights they felt they deserved, my daughter made a t-shirt to help her fight for a right she felt she deserved.
Check out these great blog hops for more educational activity ideas.