Instructional Video

14th Amendment Discussion Starter: The 39th Congress Debates

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This 14th Amendment Discussion Starter: The 39th Congress Debates instructional video also includes:

The ratification process for the Fourteenth Amendment that granted citizenship to everyone male born in the United States was contentious. The video reenacts a portion of the 39th Congressional debates focusing on the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to extend citizenship and equal protection to former slaves. Performers use the words of the Congressmen  to speak for and against the Amendment. Academics also participate in a group discussion following the video that focuses on the role of the federal government in determining civil rights. 

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Instructional Ideas
  • Discuss the arguments for and against the Fourteenth Amendment
  • Have pupils write newspaper articles explaining the 39th Congressional debate 
Classroom Considerations
  • The resource is part of the larger Congressional Hall Pass Series 
  • Includes additional background information on the 39th Congressional debates 
  • Website provides a printable copy of the discussion questions 
  • None