Constitutional Amendments in With Honors

(Last Updated On: January 16, 2017)

Constitutional Amendments in With Honors

Grade Level: 4-12, College

Subject: History, The U.S. Constitution

Film: With Honors

Joe Pesci and Brendan Frasier in With Honors

Joe Pesci and Brendan Frasier in With Honors

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Keywords: With Honors, constitutional law, the US Constitution in film, constitutional amendments, amendments to the constitution, why we amend the U.S. Consitution, Joe Pesci film, Brendan Frasier film, lesson plans, Lesson Plan, Movies in the Classroom,

Author: Cynthia Kirkeby

Affiliation: ClassBrain, Inc.

Date: 5 July 2004

Duration: 2 class periods

Background:
In With Honors, Brendan Frasier plays a Harvard student, Monty, that receives an education from an unlikely teacher, Simon Wilder played by Joe Pesci. Simon Wilder is a bum, who lives off the waste of the Harvard students. At first the two characters are thrown together when Monty loses his thesis and Simon blackmails him into letting him stay at Monty’s house in order to get the paper back. A friendship begins to grow between the men when Monty sees Simon as a person rather than a bum. The lessons learned along the way change the outlook of Monty and his friends and teach them more about the U.S. Constitution…

 

PROJECTS


Project 1:
The U. S. Constitution was created in such a way that modifications were anticipated in the future. It was not expected to be a static, historical document, but rather a living guideline for our country’s government. Read the excerpt below, and/or watch the film With Honors, and write a paper discussing the U.S. Constitution.

Possible Questions to Explore:
1.  Do you think it was wise for the founders of our country to make the constitution amendable through the use of Constitutional amendments?
2. Which amendments to the constitution do you consider archaic or in need of modification?
3.  Which constitutional amendment(s) have been repealed or failed to receive ratification and why? Do you think they should have been passed?
4.  If you were going to add a constitutional amendment, what would it be? Write the amendment in proper form.

 

Possible Questions to Explore:
1. Do you think it was wise for the founders of our country to make the constitution amendable through the use of Constitutional amendments?
2. Which amendments to the constitution do you consider archaic or in need of modification?
3. Which constitutional amendment(s) have been repealed or failed to receive ratification and why? Do you think they should have been passed?
4. If you were going to add a constitutional amendment, what would it be? Write the amendment in proper form.

 

RESOURCES

Excerpt:

Simon: You asked a question, sir, let me answer it. The genius of the Constitution is that it can always be changed. The genius of the Constitution is that it makes no permanent rule other than its faith in the wisdom of ordinary people to govern themselves.

Pitcannon: Faith in the wisdom of the people is exactly what makes the Constitution incomplete and crude.

Simon: Crude? No sir. Our founding parents were pompous, middle aged, white farmers, but they were also great men. Because they knew one thing that all great men should know–that they didn’t know everything. They knew they were going to make mistakes, but they made sure to leave a way to correct them. They didn’t think of themselves as leaders; they wanted a government of citizens, not royalty. A government of listeners not lecturers. A government that could change, not stand still. The President isn’t an elected King, no matter how many bombs he can drop because the crude Constitution doesn’t trust him. He’s a servant of the people. He’s a bum, okay Mr. Pitcannon? He’s just a bum. And the only bliss that he’s searching for is freedom and justice.

 

LEARNING LINKS

 

The U.S. Constitution & The Bill of Rights
One of the first things our founders did was amendment the constitution they had just created. Read the US Constitution and the first amendments to it, known as the Bill of Rights.
Source: The White House

The Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
Read what else Congress has amended in the U.S. Constitution, since our country’s founding.
Source: US Government Printing Office

Amendments Not Ratified
In addition to the 27 amendments which have been proposed and eventually ratified by the fifty United States, there were six others that were officially proposed that fell short of ratification. Among these is the amendment for Equal Rights For Men And Women which was not backed by enough states to achieve ratification by its deadline in 1982.

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