Building Free Government: A Tale of Two Constitutional Systems

Common Sense Society (CSS) is an international network that promotes liberty, prosperity, and beauty—educating 21st-century generations and perpetuating timeless principles that are indispensable to human flourishing and happiness. Our new curriculum is one of many resources we offer to illuminate the enduring ideas that have transformed the course of human history for the better.

The American Dream: Liberty, Prosperity, and Beauty for All is an expanding curricular toolbox created by CSS for use by middle and high school educators. The curriculum consists of a growing number of modules that support educators in exploring the value of Western civilization through a comparative examination of the histories and principles of the United States’ systems of liberty and their totalitarian counterparts.

Each module contains a selection of primary resources, student assignments, and classroom activities designed to enable students to examine the nature and preconditions of liberty, prosperity, beauty, and the pursuit of happiness; to consider how and to what extent these principles have been implemented in the course of history; and to compare and contrast this history of implementation with that of putative alternatives past, present, and future.

Module 1

Building Free Government: A Tale of Two Constitutional Systems poses the essential question: How does the structure of government affect the enforcement and respect of rights?

Students will compare and contrast the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Constitution of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (1918), and the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1936) on the themes of rights and power.

They will read and dissect excerpts from each constitution, read an essay on the Soviet regime and political realities faced by citizens, and finally come to an understanding of how government structure affects a written constitution’s promise of rights.

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