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 later took responsibility for his actions. They will read and reflect on the narrative about Sewall and participate in a skit where they will write roles for themselves as though they were a part of the trials to understand how they can act responsibly no matter what 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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