Education Standards

Activity: Module 6 (Without Technology) -- Unbecoming British & Creating the United States of America

Activity: Module 6 (Without Technology) -- Unbecoming British & Creating the United States of America

Overview

Activity for HIST 1301: United States History I (Module 6)

Activity: Module 6 (Without Technology) -- Unbecoming British & Creating the United States of America

Groups

We recommend groups numbering between 3 and 5 students.

Debate

The "problem" the instructor will reveal to students is that their newly designed nation is experiencing cash flow problems. Only 4 of the functions of government can be fully funded, 3 can be partially funded, and the other 3 will have to be funded at a later time. Ask your students to debate which functions and plans they believe to be most needed for the new government to create three groupings.

Share

We recommend students sharing their work via your Learning Management System or another online platform, such as Google jamboard or Padlet. 

Citations

We recommend asking students to include their sources either as links with their submissions or in the notes/comments section of the submission portal in your Learning Management System. 

Examples of Functions of Government to Consider: 

  • Legislative Body to create laws

  • Judicial Body 

  • Executive Leadership 

  • International Trade Negotiations

  • Currency and Economic Order 

  • Local organization/protection

  • Diplomacy and International Representation 

  • Agriculture and Food Production

  • Business Oversight 

  • Medical Standards 

Recommended Resources

Kariann Akemi Yokota’s Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America Became a Postcolonial Nation (2011) is a helpful reference text for this activity.

Treaty of Paris 1783 

HIST 1301 United States History I

Activity: Module 6 (Without Technology) -- Unbecoming British & Creating the United States of America

Outcomes

This activity asks students to consider the functions of government that needed to be established after the American Revolution. Students will take on the roles of the founders by designing their own government to explore the complex challenges of the post-Revolutionary era.

Discuss

In small groups, list the responsibilities of the new United States government following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Discuss what functions were needed for daily life and those that were needed to be recognized by other nations. As a class, discuss the similarities and differences between the lists of responsibilities and the historical context of the late 18th century.

Design

Each small group will be assigned one function of the state to focus on designing as part of the system of government for an entirely new nation. Individually, draft your idea for the best organizational structure by considering the following questions: 

  • What is the mission of your new system? 

  • How will this system function? What resources will it need (money, staff, etc.)? 

  • Who will use the system? 

  • How does this system differ from British rule? How will it distinguish the new nation? 

Discuss your designs within your small groups to compare the similarities and differences between your ideas. Each group will create one plan to present to the course in 2-3 minutes. 

Debate

After each small group has presented their plan for their assigned function of government, your instructor will present to the class a problem that the new government has to solve. 

Reflect

Following the class debate, individually write around 100 words in response to the following questions: What was the most challenging part of this process? Do you believe that the right functions were selected? Why or why not?