Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies

TITLE:     How Man Negotiates Away His Natural Freedom


GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT:       11 - 12    U.S. History

OVERVIEW:  Students are assigned readings on John Locke's
views on the political nature of man.  This is followed by
class discussions on ways in which his views were
incorporated into the early U.S. political framework and
philosophy.  Specifically, we analyze the concepts of LIFE,
PROPERTY, AND LIBERTY.  An emphasis is placed on Locke's
view that man, in a purely natural political state, is a
totally free being.  However, he quickly recognizes the
necessity of negotiating away a portion of freedom in an
attempt to protect his other natural interests of life and

PURPOSE:  The relevance of this lesson is that students are
asked to recognize that our legal-political system has
developed through a process of moving from philosophical
ideals to compromised working models.
OBJECTIVES:  Students will be able to:
1.     identify John Locke's views of the nature of man.
2.     describe the application of these views to the
development of U.S. political theory and systems.
3.     evaluate the differences between the importance of
LIFE, PROPERTY, and LIBERTY, and conclude which of
these aspects of the nature of political man is most
highly negotiable.
4.     develop a political philosophy by working with their
assigned cooperative group.

1.     U.S. History text
2.     U.S. Government text
3.     Readings on Western Political Thought

1.     reading resource material
2.     entire class discussion
3.     work on group political philosophy in their cooperative
4.     These groups are joined with others (2 groups) to form
their political philosophy into specific governing
5.     Discussion with the entire class based on the groups
presentation of their laws (acceptance, modification,
or rejection).

In practice Activity 5 usually fulfills this criteria.  (a note of
caution:  It is often at this point that animosities which
have developed between group members during the course of
the study may reach a flash point and the teacher would be
prepared to deal with this issue.) 


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