Theme I: Establishing the American Ideal


Purpose: To recognize that the Enlightenment philosophy and Revolution are the foundation for the American Ideal.


Essential Question: Was the American Revolution Justified?


Consider the Theme Focus Questions:


        Which of the philosophs had the greatest influence on American government? Why?

        What are the American Ideals? How do they reflect Enlightenment philosophy?

        How did loyalists respond to patriot rhetoric and rebellion?

        What would have happened to the signers of the Declaration of Independence if the colonists lost the war?

        Why was the success of the American Revolution considered both an inspiration and a threat?

        What was the Federalist/Anti Federalist argument? Who were the key leaders?

        Why did the Anti-Federalists reject the Constitution?

        What is the purpose of the Bill of Rights?

        How are the ideals interpreted and enforced over time?   


Performance Assessment

Apply what you have learned about Revolution [the significance of philosophy, key arguments for and against, leaders/tactics, justification used in support as well as in opposition, and the outcome as evidence of success or failure] to the following prompt:

To what extent was the election of Barak Obama an American Revolution? Was this justified? How do you know? Use your knowledge from documents studied, class discussion, and Zinn to support your position.

Free Response Question Rubric

Numeric Value












Argument: Clear, well-developed thesis; addresses complexity of question

Thesis is well-developed and clearly focused; acknowledges the complexity of the question itself

Thesis must be consistent and controlled; may not be as focused as in top category

Limited or partially developed thesis which addressed question somewhat

Confused, unsupported, poorly developed thesis

No thesis or an irrelevant one

Critical Thought: Analysis clearly supports thesis and main ideas; discussion of conflicting evidence

In-depth analysis clearly supports thesis and main ideas

Strong analysis in most areas; needs more

More descriptive than analytic; may not discuss entire question

Limited understanding of question; ineffective or inaccurate analysis

Inadequate or inaccurate understanding of question

Evidence: Logical and balanced; displays sophisticated knowledge of subject

Substantial use of evidence throughout

Strong use of evidence, may lack balance

Contains some evidence, needs more

Lacks evidence to support main ideas

Facts not specific, relevant, or accurate

Writing Style: Organization; clarity; mechanical skill

Must be well-organized and well-written; cogent

Clearly organized and written; not exceptional but logical

Acceptable organization and writing

Weak organization and writing

Disorganized and poorly written