Creating a More Perfect Union - Game Script Exploring the creation of The US Constitution and Bill of Rights


Background

My fellow Founding Fathers!

I welcome you to the Constitutional Convention! As you know, this important convention will take place in Philadelphia at Independence Hall. 

In an effort to form a more perfect union, each of you will have to bring a specific issue to light and use your knowledge and individual beliefs to draft a constitution that will help establish a strong and balanced government. The people of the United States are depending on you!

Sincerely,

George Washington

Characters

Benjamin Franklin Writer, Inventor, Politician

Benjamin Franklin is one of the Founding Fathers who drafted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.


Your Task

Dear Benjamin, it is your duty to be a voice for the abolitionist movement. Speak out against the injustices of slavery. This is a new country and we must continue to progress and leave behind our old ways.

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...


Resources

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James Madison American Patriot and Statesman

Madison was named the "Father of the Constition. He campaigned for a central government that was regulated with checks and balances. He played a vital role in structuring the constitution and was an instrumental force behind the bill of rights.

Fun fact: He died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.


Your Task

Dear James, your job is to convince the other delegates that the US should have a federalist government. Your influence and knowledge gives you the power of persuasion.. use it well.

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...


Resources

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Charles Pinckney US Governor, Diplomat, and Representative

Pinckney was a founding father and govenor of South Carolina. He felt that if a government fails its people, the people have the right to form a new government.

Fun fact: Pinckney could speak 5 languages.


Your Task

Dear Charles, it is your job to persuade the other delegates that there must be a separation between the church and state. It also important to explain why religious freedom should be a basic right to American citizens. 

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...


Resources

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George Mason Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, NY Governor, American Diplomat

George Mason was dedicated to the American manifestation of the Enlightenment. He was one of the most frequent speakers at the constitutional convention.

Fun fact. G. Mason as a close neighbor to G. Washington.


Your Task

George, it is your job to be the voice of the people. Be an advocate for the common people, we must not enable the wealthy to oppress and ruin the poor. Your rational approach will serve you well at this convention. 

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...


Resources

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Thomas Jefferson Author, Foreign Diplomat, Governor, Vice President, President

Jefferson practiced law before being selected to write the 1st draft of the Declaration of Independence. He went on to become the 3rd president of the USA and was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase.


Your Task

Dear Thomas, it is your duty, as an American and as a Republican, to convince the others that a majority of the power should not remain in the federal government, rather the state government. Make it clear that the common man is capable of self-government!

Try to establish your arguments using the resources offered to you. They are worth reading...

 


Resources

Scene - 01

Scene 1: Did the US Constitution fulfill the goals of the preamble or did it fall short of its expectations?



1.

Public Message

Hello there young Americans!

By now, you're familiar with the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and various issues that were debated over during this time period. Put your knowledge to the test, work together, and contribute ideas - do it for your fellow citizens.

Welcome to the Constitutional Convention! The year is 1787, and you have been chosen to be among the delegates who will help form a new legal system for the new country. As you already know, the Articles of Confederation turned out to be a weak way to unify the 13 states and maintain a balance among its citizens.

In a team effort to form a more perfect union, each of you will have to bring a specific issue to light and use your knowledge and individual beliefs to draft a constitution that will help establish a strong and balanced government. The people of the United States are depending on you!

Use your resources to help your arguments.



2.

Private (Shortly After previous message)

Benjamin Franklin:

Using your resources, explain the injustices of slavery and be a voice for the abolition movement. This is a new country and we must continue to progress and leave this unjust institution behind.

James Madison:

Using your resources, explain why the US should have a federalist government.

Charles Pinckney:

Using your resources,  explain that there must be a separation between the church and state. Explain the importance of religious freedom as a basic right to American citizens. 

George Mason:

Using your resources, explain the need to protect the common people of the United States from wealthy oppression.

Thomas Jefferson:

Using your resources, explain that the power should be in the hands of the state government, not the federal government. Make it clear that the common man is capable of self-government!



3.

Public Message (Shortly After previous message)

Reasons for the Constitutional Convention:

In the Fall of 1786, many state delegates felt that the problems of the Articles of Confederation needed to be addressed and improved in order to establish a stronger, more centralized government.

"The example of changing a constitution by assembling the wise men of the state, instead of assembling armies, will be worth as much to the world as the former examples we had give them. The constitution, too, which was the result of our deliberation, is unquestionably the wisest ever yet presented to men." (Thomas Jefferson in a letter to David Humphreys, March 18 1789)



4.

Private (Shortly After previous message)

Benjamin Franklin:

Remember Ben! You are the only one that can convince the other delegates that abolition is a key to our nation's bright future!

George

James Madison:

James,

We need a strong centralized government. Your country depends on you!!

George

Charles Pinckney:

Charles,

Many of our citizens fled Europe because of religious persecution! We need to ensure that they have no reason to worry about it happening again in our wonderful new country!

I believe in you!

Your fellow Statesmen,

George

George Mason:

Isn't it great that we have the same first name? Let's just hope the others don't confuse us!

Moving on to more important matters.. our hard-working citizens should feel protected from their government. We must ensure their rights as humans, as well as citizens of this prospering country!

Im counting on you!

George

Thomas Jefferson:

My dear friend, Thomas,

The whole goal of this convention is to not only strengthen our federal government, but also, to ensure a continuous regulation of our state governments. After all, we know what happens in a country where the federal government has too much power and control over its citizens.

I know you have my back!

George

 



5.

Public Message (Shortly After previous message)

My fellow Statesmen!

While these debates can get heated sometimes, always remember that you are the voice of the American people. It is important to keep them in your mind while you present your arguments! We all must make sacrifices for the greater good!

Keep up the good work!

Your buddy,

George



6.

Public Message (Shortly After previous message)

What a time it is to be alive! 

Now that you have presented your argument and have seen what everyone had to say .. do you think the US Constitution achieved the goals of the Preamble?

You have a few more minutes to close your arguments, use your time well!

Voting will take place soon



Vote

After all you've said and heard, do you think that the US Constitution achieved the goals of the Preamble?



Option 1
Yes
Option 2
No


Ending message for when most people voted for option



Option 1

You have decided the US consitution did not achieve the goals of the Preamble


Option 2

You have decided that the US consitution achieved the goals of the Preamble




Discussion Points

  1. What fundamental values and principles of the Founders does the Preamble represent?
  2. What groups were not represented in the Constitutional Convention? What effect did this have on the Constitution?
  3. What would you change if you had been there?
  4. Do you believe the US Constitution and Bill of Rights are strong enough to maintain the goals listed in the preamble? What would you edit/delete/replace?