FEATURED LESSON PLAN
A Balancing Act
- Briefly examine the domestic response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941
- Learn about some of the governmentıs organizational and policy responses to terrorism and fears of terrorism in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001
- Develop a plan based on their own ideas about how the United States, in the context of our Constitution, might best respond to terrorism and fears of terrorism
- Internet access
- Student worksheet
- 5-10 minutes for group discussion of the general question: "How should the United States respond to attacks within its own borders?"
- 45 minutes for group research on the history and results of the relocation and internment of Americans of Japanese background after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and to report group findings to the class
- 20-30 minutes for work and reporting on Student Worksheet "Some Terms to Know"
- 20 minutes to prepare in groups about how to respond to scenarios of hypothetical threats to the United States
- 30 minutes for whole-class discussion of the responses to scenarios of hypothetical attacks on the United States
Step 1: Opening the Lesson
- Reviewing a shocking event in U.S .history
- Before breaking students into small groups, ask the whole class to write for one to two minutes on the following question: "What do you know about the "relocation" or "internment" of Americans of Japanese descent? What is the difference in connotation between calling the removal of Americans of Japanese descent from their homes "relocation" or calling it "internment"?
- Divide students into five groups. Each group will read about one aspect of the response to the Japanese attack on American ships at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii before reporting back to class.
- Group One will read the background of the situation that led to the Japanese Relocation and Internment, focusing on:
- the precipitating cause for relocation and internment
- the number of people involved
- what exactly happened to the individuals relocated and interned http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/japanese-relocation/
- Group Two will examine President Franklin Rooseveltıs Dec. 8, 1941 "A Day that will Live in Infamy" speech. Instruct students in Group Two to scroll to the bottom of http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/american_originals/fdr.html where they can both read the speech and hear a short excerpt. Students in this group should focus on:
- the effect of the words Roosevelt chose to characterize the Japanese (e.g. false, deceive, onslaught, premeditated, dastardly)
- the effect of the repetition in the speech
- the purpose of the speech
- Group Three will read Executive Order 9066 at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5154 They can also view a photograph of the public posting of the order at http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/japanese-relocation/images/order-posting.gif Students in this group should read the paragraph summary, but should focus on the order itself.
- What, according to the order, is the justification for the action?
- What is the effect of the mention of "military areas?"
- What is the effect of not mentioning a particular group for exclusion?
- Group Four will read the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, popularly known as the Japanese American Redress Bill, an act that acknowledged the "grave injustice" of internment and mandated a $20,000 payment to each victim of internment. http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/civilact.html The Presidential letter of apology accompanying reparations checks is viewable at http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/clinton.html Students should focus here on:
- the effect of the words of the act (e.g. prejudice, failure, injustice, restitution)
- the tone of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988
- the effect of the words of the Presidential letter of apology
- Group Five will read the opinions (concurring and dissenting) for Korematsu v. U.S. (1944), the case that found the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans constitutional. (Teachers might divide students into two subgroups, one to read Justice Blackıs opinion affirming the decision, the other to read the three dissenting opinions.) http://www.tourolaw.edu/patch/Korematsu/ Students should focus on:
- the reasons for Justice Black affirming the decision
- the reasons for the dissenting opinions
- Reporting In:
- Each group will report to the whole class its findings about the period following Dec. 7, 1941.
- The teacher will lead a brief discussion on the following topic: "In the political fear and hysteria after the bombing of Pearl Harbor:
- was the internment of Americans of Japanese descent understandable?
- was it justifiable?
- what is the difference?
- If time permits,
- the teacher can write the following sentence from the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 on the Board, then ask students how they think this aspect of the Act has been implemented: [There should be] "a public education fund to finance efforts to inform the public about the internment so as to prevent the recurrence of any similar event."
- the teacher can ask why students think the Civil Rights Act of 1988 took so many years to pass.
Step 2: "Whatıs Your Plan? What means are appropriate, in the context of our Constitution, in the war against terror within the United States?"
- Distribute Student Worksheet: Some Terms to Know
Allow students to work in pairs. Assign each pair to check the Web sites for two terms, one term from Column One, and one term from Column Two. After students have defined the terms they were assigned, conduct a whole-class discussion to insure that everyone has a working knowledge of all the terms.
- Students will make a policy decision to address a specific threat or perceived terrorist threat to the United States looking at two possible scenarios.
The purpose of this exercise is to illustrate the difficulty government agencies face as they attempt to balance the civil liberties that United States citizens value with the need to avert catastrophes like the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
- Divide the students into groups of four. Half the students will work on Scenario A, the other half on Scenario B.
- Distribute Scenarios A and B to students.
- Ask students to follow the directions on the sheet they have received and to develop a plan to address the scenario.
- After the groups have finished, put all the A and all the B students together to see if they can come to consensus.
- Have each group present its consensus and/or disagreements to the other half of the class. Anyone can ask questions or make comments during this part of what becomes a whole-class discussion.
- The teacher should act as moderator.
Step 3: Homework: Choose one of the following:
- Letter to the Editor: Write a two or three paragraph letter that articulates your position on how, in the context of our Constitution, to manage the threat of terror in the United States.
- Ben Franklin said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." (Source: http://www.bartleby.com/73/1056.html). Write a response to Ben Franklin. You may agree or disagree, and you may write in the form of a poem or an essay.
- Write an evaluation: Both the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 evoked an overwhelming sense of fear in the United States, yet the responses are different. How might you account for the different nature of the responses?
Methods Of Assessment:
- Participation in group discussion and worksheets
- Completion of Letter to the Editor, response to Ben Franklin quote, or written evaluation of the different responses to Pearl Harbor and the events of Sept. 11, 2001.