Familiar But Flawed

Lesson Plan

Learn how America's love-hate relationship with Great Britain's government showed up in the way the Founder's designed America's government. In this lesson, students take a close look at representation, voting, checks and balances, and the concept of a bill of rights as they learn about Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and the British monarchy.

*Note: This lesson highlights British influences on American government. Combine this lesson with other lessons from Foundations of Government - High School to teach students about the many influences that impacted the writing of the U.S. Constitution. 


  • Explain the influence of the British form of government in shaping the U.S. Constitution

  • Identify British documents that were influential in shaping the U.S. Constitution

  • Compare and contrast shared features of English and American government, including representation, voting, a bicameral legislature, a single executive, and a bill of rights

  • Analyze how America’s Founders incorporated and improved upon familiar British concepts to contain tyranny in favor of liberty