All Hands on Deck: Learning Adventures Aboard Old Ironsides
curriculum home
    Table of Contents > Lesson 1: A Navy or Knot? > Does America Need Warships? Part II  
how to use this online curriculum
preview activities
table of contents

Getting Started    Key Words and Concepts   Glossary    Activities    Recommended Resources     Scuttlebutt

Does America Need Warships? Part II:
Holding a debate

Divide the class into two teams to research and debate this issue, either from an historical standpoint or as a current issue. You might allow students who do not want to be directly involved in the debate to evaluate a position. Ask them to use criteria to make judgments about (1) the strengths and weaknesses of the position, (2) goals promoted by the position and (3) the means advocated to attain the goals. Other students might take a position: use criteria to arrive at a
position they can support. For students involved in defending a position in the debate, ask them to provide the arguments for their position and respond to arguments opposed to their position. Ask students to consider all the options open to the U.S. and the concurrent political realities. What economic, geographic, ethical or political considerations might influence the decision? Students might examine the writings of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who took strong
positions for and against creating a navy. The debate between these individuals provides a good illustration of how two reasonable people can disagree yet respect one another's thinking.

An alternative but more comprehensive subject for debate would be the current U.S. budget allocations for defense versus education. Why does America spend so much more defending the country than it does educating its people? Do world politics justify the imbalance? Can students adequately defend a shift in expenditures toward education?

Credit to the National Standards for Civics and Government available through the National Council for Social Studies


curriculum creditsuss constitution museum homecopyright information uss constitution museum logo