USF's WebQuest 

What Were They Thinking?  The Founders, the Enlightenment, the Classics, and Our Government   

Author: Ryan Drake


It is October 19, 1791.  You hear the British band playing ìThe World Turned Upside Downî as Cornwallisís second in command offers Cornwallisís sword to the victorious revolutionary army at the battle of Yorktown.  Though the fighting is behind you, there is still a lot of work to be done as you and your fellow ex-colonists struggle to turn yourselves into a nation.

Points to Ponder Before Moving On:

Read the Lyrics to "The World Turned Upside Down" and download a midi version of the song here.  Why do you think the British chose to play that song?


For answers to your questions about the direction to take the country after the Revolution and ensuing Articles of Confederations, you are going to look to the Enlightenment.  You will look at some of the thoughts of famous Enlightenment thinkers and, using your knowledge of American government, illustrate how their thoughts were used by the Framers in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Points to Ponder Before Moving On:


To complete your task, you will first be broken into groups.  Then, in your groups, you will work collaboratively to complete the following steps.

Skip ahead to the Resource List:

Step One:

Before moving on, you must complete the following organizer to help you keep track of your information.  This organizer will also account for part of your grade.


Enlightenment Philosopher

Their beliefs

How these beliefs are present in our government

























Step Two:

Upon completion of your organizer, you will prepare a poster for display in the class.  You will graphically represent all of the Philosophers beliefs and their function in our government while using as few words as possible.  You must be prepared to defend your choice of illustrations during a short presentation. 

Step Three:

Additionally, each group member must complete a RAFT to turn in.  The directions for the RAFT are as follows: 

Role:  Your role is that of an Enlightenment philosopher (each group member must choose a different philosopher)
:  The attendees of George Washingtonís first inauguration.
:  Speech
Topic:  You are to write a speech congratulating the Americans for creating such an enlightened government system.  You must include all of the information on your information organizer



You will be graded on the following rubric.


Step Excellent Sufficient Insufficient
Information Organizer

All information is present and pertinent.  There is a sufficient amount of information.

5 pts

All information is present and pertinent.  There is an insufficient amount of information.

Organizer is incomplete

1 pt

Poster and Defense

Poster is well constructed using well-thought-out illustrations.  Choice of illustrations are properly defended.
10 pts

Poster looks haphazardly thrown together, or defense of illustrations is insufficient.

5 pts

Poster is poorly constructed and defense is lacking.

1 pt

RAFT The RAFT makes well-thought-out arguments in speech.  Correctly uses historical ideas.

5 pts

The RAFT does not properly address the particular Enlightenment thinker's philosophy.
                                                            3 pts

The RAFT does not address any Enlightenment philosophy

1 pt


CONGRATULATIONS!  You have successfully created a document which will help drive our country to the prestigious spot we hold today on the world's stage!

Points to Ponder Before Moving On: