Using Primary Sources: John Pory's Proceedings from the 1619 General Assembly

What can we learn about people from the laws that they pass?
LESSON PLAN

 

GRADE LEVEL

High School

STANDARDS AND SKILLS

Virginia Standards of Learning (Virginia and US History, Virginia and US Government):

                               VUS.2                        VUS.3                       GOVT.2.d                             GOVT.3

Historical Thinking Skills:

This lesson also meets national standards of learning for social studies.



LESSON OVERVIEW

Objective:

In this lesson, students will practice their interpretive skills through primary source investigation and gain greater insight into the world of 1619 Virginia, and the evolution of the American lawmaking process. 

Essential Questions:



MATERIALS AND PREPARATION

Laws Enacted by the General Assembly” transcription from the Pory Proceedings

“Laws Enacted by the General Assembly” recording

‘Master Pories parlement business’—The Proceedings of the First General Assembly of Virginia, July 1619 by John Pory

congress.gov

Chronicling America

Graphic Organizer: Gallery Walk Evaluation

Primary Source Analysis Tool



PROCEDURE

Step One

Divide students into eight groups and assign each a law (Labor, Gambling/Vice, Drinking, Economy, Trade, Crime, Worship, Marriage). Have students work as a group to examine the law that they have been assigned. Provide each student with a primary source analysis tool and a transcript of the “Laws Enacted by the General Assembly”. Students may also have access to the recording of the “Laws Enacted by the General Assembly” and read along beginning on page 13 of the transcript. 


Step Two

Using the transcript and secondary sources for additional context, students should determine the following: 

 

Step Three

Have the class share and brainstorm with each group reporting their findings. Ask students to share which laws were the most remarkable to them and why. Ask students if they think that American government is proactive or reactive. Can they think of any examples?

 

Step Four

Remaining with their groups, students should research a law either proposed or passed in the same broad category as their 1619 law (eg, the Drinking group might use the 18th amendment). Groups will create a poster for a class gallery walk that addresses the following information:

 

Students should use congress.gov to find specific legislation, sponsors, etc.  Additional information surrounding the legislation can be found through the Library of Congress Newspaper digitization project: Chronicling America. 

NOTE: This project can also be completed on a statewide level. Most state legislatures have a database of legislation that can be searched, and contextual materials can come from many sources. 

 

Step Five

Conduct a class gallery walk. Have students fill out the Gallery Walk Evaluation Graphic Organizer.



ASSESSMENT

Through a speech, video, essay, or letter, students should address the following question after completing their research and conducting the classroom gallery walk: In these instances, how was legislation impacted by those making the decision? Who was represented? Whose interests weren’t represented?

 

 

10/19