American Portraits

Asking Pardon of Men: Samuel Sewall and Responsibility

In this lesson, students will learn about Samuel Sewall’s role in the Salem Witch Trials and how he took responsibility for his actions afterward. They will read and reflect and analyze a narrative on Sewall and understand how they can act responsibly no matter the circumstances.

Founding Principles

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Due Process

The government must interact with all citizens according to the duly-enacted laws; applying these rules equally among all citizens.

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Individual Responsibility

Individuals must take care of themselves and their families and be vigilant to preserve their liberty.

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Rule of Law

Government and citizens all abide by the same laws regardless of political power. Those laws respect individual rights, are transparently enacted, are justly applied, and are stable.

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