We all know how hard teaching Representative government documents and the U.S. Constitution can be. The principles can seem abstract to students and the wording can be challenging. Instead of focusing on how hard the documents are I found a way to make it easy. I taught my students the U.S. Constitution is the greatest “musical sample” (taking a portion of an original song and reusing it in a new song) of all time. This is essentially what the Founding Fathers did when writing the U.S. Constitution. They Sampled ideas from representative government documents to write the Bill of Rights and the 7 principles of government.
Take for example, Carlos Santana’s Song “Maria, Maria” and DJ Khaled song “Wild Thoughts”. Take a second or two to listen just to the beginning of each song. In class I played Maria, Maria first and asked my students “what song is this?” They laughed and said “Wild Thoughts, Duh Ms.” I said “okay keep listening”. Then I played “Wild Thoughts” and the looks on their faces was priceless. They were like wait what song was the first one? I said “Maria, Maria by Carlos Santana”. I asked them what did they notice between both songs of course they noticed the beat was the same, but the lyrics changed. I hooked them in and told them the Founding Fathers were the original DJ Khaled. They sampled the representative documents we talked about earlier to make the U.S. Constitution. They kept the main idea (beat) and changed the lyrics.
Sample 1: Magna Carta (1215) stated “no one is above the law.” This idea wanted to limit the power of the king (Maria Maria)
Limited Government (Wild Thoughts) is a sample of the Magna Carta. The framers kept the main idea (beat) that “no is above the law” and changed the words (lyrics) to say “Everyone must OBEY the Constitution.” The idea that no matter you are you must follow the rules.
Sample 2: English Bill of Rights outlined rights people should have
Individual Rights people are guaranteed rights in the Bill of Rights that can not be taken away.
Sample 3: Fundamental orders of Connecticut: The first written Constitution that estabilshed a set of rules.
U.S. Constitution: The document that sets the rules by which all Americans must follow.
Sample 4: Virginia House of Burgesses (1619): People can chose their leaders.
Republicanism: Citizens get to vote for their leaders and laws.
Check out the video here: