Order

For more information about formats, visit our ordering page.

Videos

Choices produces videos featuring top experts—professors, policymakers, journalists, activists, and artists—answering questions that complement the readings and lessons.

Supplemental Materials

Supplemental Materials includes links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended print resources.

The U.S. Constitution

A More Perfect Union: The Constitutional Convention and the Ratification Debate

First edition. September 2016.

Overview

In A More Perfect Union: The Constitutional Convention and the Ratification Debate, students revisit the events and controversies of 1787-88 to gain a deeper understanding of the political climate of the era and the values that contributed to the political foundation of the United States. Through exploring the parallels between the debates of 1788 and our country's current political discourse, students gain an insight into many of the issues that define our own age.

Readings

The readings place students in the context of the late 1700s as they prepare to consider the policy debate surrounding the Constitution. The text considers the economic divisions emerging in the young American republic, probes the most controversial sections of the Constitution proposed in 1787, and reviews the evolution of the U.S. Constitution's scope and meaning over the past two centuries.

The Choices Role Play

This activity is a simulation in which students examine three options that revolve around the ratification of the proposed Constitution in 1787. Each option is grounded in a clearly defined philosophy about the nature of government along with the threats and opportunities facing an independent U.S. republic. By exploring a broad spectrum of alternatives, students gain a deeper understanding of the competing values and assumptions that framed the debates of the late 1700s. Ultimately, the intent is to help students clarify their thoughts about the origins of the United States, articulate their own views on the role of government, and apply the lessons of history to the challenges facing U.S. citizens today.

Lessons

The Constitutional Convention
As delegates, students grapple with the critical issues raised in Philadelphia and use historical evidence and primary sources to develop coherent arguments.

February 1788: The Options Role Play
As a range of fictional characters at an inn, students debate the competing options for the Constitution.

Judging the Past
By developing criteria for portraying the past, students begin to assess the perspectives and standards that shape historiography.

Synthesis: Reassessing the Constitution
Students brainstorm modern challenges facing the United States, articulate their own views on individual rights and the purpose of government, and explore the durability and room for improvement in the U.S. Constitution.

This curriculum replaces A More Perfect Union: American Independence and the Constitution. It contains a significant number of important corrections to historical sources that had been inaccurately quoted. Primary sources in the lesson on the debates of the Constitutional Convention have replaced text that had paraphrased the historical record.

Share