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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Liberty for All: Let the Magna Carta persuade

The Magna Carta is the forefront of the life, liberty, and happiness we enjoy to this day. Throughout history, there have been multiple references to the Magna Carta originally created in 1215. However, a copy of the Magna Carta does not 'live' here in the United Sates. The focus of this unit is to familiarize the students with the importance of the Magna Carta in American history and to use these tools to support a persuasive letter. The persuasive letter will be written to an individual/place of the students choosing, stating that a copy of the Magna Carta should be donated or given to the United States since it holds so many of the truths and/or roots that still help our country stand to this day.

The students will explore the attached slides and resources as they study in class about the American Revoultion and separation of England and the colonies. Important people and happenings will be taught as students begin to learn about the connection to the original Magna Carta, which was written in 1215 and curbed the power of King John. The Magna Carta is meant to remind people of the 13th-century barons in England who rebelled against a tax-happy, unjust king — just like the colonists did here in Boston. In addition to links during the time of the American Revolution, Senator John F. Kennedy also makes reference to a need for an 'Urban Magna Carta' in his speech at the Mayors Conference in Miami, FL in 1958.

This 800-year-old document has been called “the birth certificate of democracy” and “the foundation of freedom" by several sources. Upon its coming anniversary, student knowledge of its strength and connections to liberty are of imperative in order to organize a detailed and persuasive writing piece.



Related Standards:


5.15 - Explain the reasons fo tthe French & Indian War, how it led to an overhaul of British imperial policy, and the colonial response to these policies.

5.16 - Explain the meaning of the ley ideas on equality, natural rights, the rule of law, and the purpose of governement contained in the Declaration of Independence.

USI.5 - Explain the role of Massachusetts in the Revolution, including important events that took place in Massachusetts and important leaders from Massachusetts.

Language Arts:

RI.5.6 – Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

RI.5.7 - Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate and answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

RI.5.9 - Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.


W.5.1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.



For relevant supplementary materials and classroom activities, refer to the links and PDFs posted under Related Resources at the bottom of this page. 



Related Resources