Change in a Democratic Society (Lesson 1 of 3)

What does "The Sword of Damocles" have to do with the formation of American democracy and the US Constitution? Class members begin their study of changes in a democratic society by considering the allusions in English painter Richard Westall's oil painting.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Have groups research examples that illustrate the dangers those in power have faced
  • Create additional slides that focus on various details of the painting
Classroom Considerations

  • The first in a series of three related resources that focus on changes in a democratic society
  • Teachers must be Paideia trained to facilitate this component of the unit
  • While some of the links are broken, images of the painting are available on the Internet
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information

  • The packet includes a description of the activities, links to a vocabulary list, and a PowerPoint presentation 

  • Some class members may need additional scaffolding to comprehend the allusions in the painting and how these allusions connect to leadership and changes in a democratic society