The Rule of Law


Civics The Judicial Branch: Justice and the Law The Rule of Law
Students read about and summarize ancient and historical codes of law that have had an impact on the American legal, political, and governmental systems. Then they explore the types and sources of modern laws. Next, students develop a definition for the concept “rule of law.” Finally, students analyze an image of Lady Justice and explain how she represents rule of law.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

1:1 Devices
Teacher Pack

The Pack contains associated resources for the learning experience, typically in the form of articles and videos. There is a teacher Pack (with only teacher information) and a student Pack (which contains only student information). As a teacher, you can toggle between both to see everything.

Here are the teacher pack items for The Rule of Law:

Preview - Scene 1
Exploros Learnign Experience Scene Navigation


Engage


Overview

In this experience, students read about and summarize ancient and historical codes of law that have had an impact on the American legal, political, and governmental systems. Then they explore the types and sources of modern laws. Next, students develop a definition for the concept “rule of law.” Finally, students analyze an image of Lady Justice and explain how she represents rule of law.

Students will collaborate in small groups for scene 2 to scene 5.

Objectives

  • Define rule of law and describe how it influenced the development of the American legal, political, and governmental systems.
  • Identify early legal codes that influenced the system we live by today.
  • Identify the sources and types of law in the United States.




Volumes of Laws and Statutes


Laws are designed to prevent criminal acts, to regulate agreements between people, and to set punishments. All people living in a society are asked to follow laws. These laws tell us what acceptable behavior in a society is and what it is not. In this experience you will learn about the role that laws play in the United States.

Objectives

  • Define rule of law and describe how it influenced the development of the American legal, political, and governmental systems.
  • Identify early legal codes that influenced the system we live by today.
  • Identify the sources and types of law in the United States.

John Adams, America’s second president, wrote in an essay that “a republic is a government of laws, and not of men.”

When Gerald Ford was inaugurated as President in 1974 following the resignation of Richard Nixon (as follow up to the Watergate scandal), Ford borrowed Adams’s words:


“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here, the people rule. ... As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the Golden Rule to our political process and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.”


Based on these two quotes, what do you think a “government of laws” is? Since the phrase may be new to you, make your best prediction. 

Post your answer

Students may be able to arrive at a basic definition of a democracy where the government must obey the laws and work by the rules.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next part.

The rule of law is the principle that society is governed by law, and that all members of a society are accountable to law. Rule of law tries to guarantee that the law is fairly applied and enforced. This concept that government operates under a set of fairly applied laws is the foundation of our judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government.


Can you name a country that appears not to honor the rule of law? If you are unsure, turn to a partner and discuss briefly before posting an answer.

Post your answer

If students struggle to name a country, suggest that they think about what they hear in the news. Which countries are mentioned as abusing human rights, of having demonstrations against government corruption, or being affected by civil war?


Divide students into their small groups for the next four scenes. When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

End of Preview
The Complete List of Learning Experiences in The Judicial Branch: Justice and the Law Unit.
Would you like to preview the rest of this learning experience, and get access to the entire functioning Civics MS course for your classroom? Sign up using your school email address below.
Back to top