University of Wisconsin–Madison

Pedagogical Suggestions Using the Quakers Opposition to the Constitution Page

Click here to view the Quakers Opposition to the Constitution Page


A News Magazine Broadcast – An entire class project that simulates a news magazine format that reports on some of the objections that Quakers and other religious leaders had about the Constitution.

  • Divide the class into the various roles that would be required to do a news broadcast. Roles that you should consider in producing the broadcast would be:
  • Host/Anchorperson(s)
  • Camera person(s)
  • Writers
  • Reporters
  • Specific Quakers and Other Individuals- Although the individuals listed below were generally supportive of the Constitution; they did have concerns about the various provisions in the Constitution related to slavery.
  • Assign the reporters to interview individuals focusing their attention on the specific qualms about the Constitution. Be sure to emphasize that although there will be similarities among the individuals being interviewed, the reporters and especially the host should pay attention to the distinctions and variations among these individuals. These differences are usually used as points of transitions in a news magazine format. The individuals that can be portrayed in this simulation can be:
  • James Pemberton
  • Robert Waln
  • Moses Brown
  • Samuel Hopkins
  • “Timothy Meanwell”- The name of a hypothetical person created for the purpose of attacking Quaker concerns about the Constitution. Timothy Meanwell functions like a straw man in the argument.
  • William Rotch, Sr.
  • Jeremy Belknap- A Congregationalist minister.
  • Pair up a reporter with an individual from the list above. Have them read through the document(s) that are associated with that particular person. The Quaker Opposition to the Constitution page has all of the documents listed.
  • After reading the documents, reporters and individuals should begin to come up with a list of questions that would be appropriate for their specific interview. The individual being interviewed should also work on developing their character for the role they will play during the “interview.”
  • Reporters should conduct “interviews.”
  • The host(s) of the show should do some reading on the subject to get background about the time period and subject. Their task is to write and produce the transitions as the show proceeds from interview to interview. It would also be appropriate to have the host work closely with the reporters to coordinate the approach taken in the interviews so as to not have redundancies in the story. It might be helpful for students to watch shows like 20/20 or 60 Minutes to see how a news magazine style show operates.

*All of this will certainly be a multiple day project. Depending on how realistic or sophisticated one wanted to be in this project, you might consider bringing in reporters, broadcasters, costuming experts, and technology professionals.