For years, there has been controversy about whether “under God” was or was not an appropriate phrase to include in the Pledge, and whether people should even be required to say the Pledge. These arguments are partly based on whether the Founding Fathers thought of our country as being, or intended it to be, Christian. Since we can’t go back in a time machine and ask them straight out, we can only look at what they ‘said’ in their letters, speeches, and other writings. Since “under God” was added after the original Pledge of Allegiance was written we sometimes wonder what the Founding Fathers would have thought of the controversy over it. Choose one of the Founding Fathers, from the list below. Learn their belief system and write an essay arguing that the person you chose would agree or not agree with adding “under God” to the Pledge.
Use direct quotes, from the websites listed below, by the man you chose. You MAY read other, more recent opinions as background for writing your essay, but don’t quote them (and definitely don’t copy and paste them into your paper–that would be plagiarism). Here are some questions to ask yourself during your research. Consider both the exact words, and any implications. DON’T just write answers to these questions for your essay as a means to guide your learning. This paper should show what you have learned through your research.
Does this quote show whether or not he believed in God?
Does this quote express any opinion about religion, and/or the relationship between religion and government?
Does this quote show whether he believed in Christ as the Son of God, and/or a righteous teacher/prophet?
How do his stated beliefs compare to yours?
Your thesis statement for this essay might be something like “_‘s writings suggest (or prove) that he was a Christian” or “__ was not a true Christian” or “Whether or not __ was a Christian was not important in forming our government.” Regardless, you need to use quotes from his own words as evidence and document your sources in your essay.
Structure Content Points possible
Introduction (one paragraph) State the name of the Founding Father and their position (whether or not you think he was a believing Christian, OR that it isn’t important whether he was or was not). If you are going to argue that he was (or was not) Christian, you also need to explain/define what you mean when you say “Christian”. 5 points
Evidence (one paragraph) Explain one quote you find in your research that helps support your position. Consider both the exact words, and reasonable inferences you can make from these words. 5 points
Evidence or examples (one paragraph) Explain another quote that helps support your position. Consider both the exact words, and reasonable inferences you can make from these words. 5 points
Defend your position (one paragraph) Explain one piece of evidence (quote) or an example that seems to disprove your position, and why your position is still correct in spite of this. You must use evidence, not just opinion! 5 points
Conclusion (one paragraph) Sum up your argument, and suggest at least one way this is relevant to government issues today and/or how you feel about this issue. I feel like it should stay in it. 5 points
Works cited List all books and web sites you used in researching this issue. Be sure to use the sites contained in the URL’s.
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