People and Events

Exploring Our Nation: People and Events that Shaped the U.S. Constitution


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CHAPTER 1. Montesquieu’s Ideas About Government

In this chapter students will learn about Montesquieu one of the foremost political philosophers of the Enlightenment.  Viewers will come to understand that his writings explore various forms of government and finding ways to prevent governmental corruption in order to reduce society’s problems.  The program examines how Montesquieu’s doctrine of “separation of powers” inspired the principles of the United States constitution.     

CHAPTER 2. Colonial Governments

Students will learn that before the American Revolution each of the thirteen original colonies had governments formed according to three different legal models; Royal, Charter and Proprietary.  The video discusses the differences in each of the models, but points out elements of democracy were common.  Viewers will learn that most colonial governments consisted of a governor, a council and an assembly or House of Representatives.

CHAPTER 3.  Shay’s Rebellion

This chapter examines the people, places and events that led to Shay’s Rebellion.  Students will learn about the weaknesses of the United States’ original federal government established under the Articles of Confederation.  Viewers will realize how the lack of a strong federal government impacted the union of the states and its citizens.  The video discusses the events that led to Shay’s Rebellion and how it sparked a movement to create a strong central government.

Grades 7 to 12

Item# MM4299

Running Time 13 Minutes

Digital Licensing Rights Available