School Improvement in Maryland

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 5.0 History

Topic A. Individuals and Societies Change Over Time

Indicator 1. Analyze the chronology and significance of key historical events leading to early settlement in Maryland

Objective a. Explain how and why the Maryland colony was established, including political and economic motives for coming to the new world

Although George Calvert wanted to found a colony in the Chesapeake as a means of income, he also wanted it to be a place where people of all Christian religions could worship freely and participate in public life. To explore this concept with students, ask them to define "religious freedom." Have students read the first portion of the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…") and discuss its meaning. Explain to students that religious freedom is very important in the United States and that the idea of tolerating different religions was first tried in the Maryland colony. Explain the role of the Church of England in the 1600s and how George Calvert was forced to retire from political life when he converted to Catholicism. As a result of the persecution of English Catholics, the Calverts wanted their colony to be a place where both Catholics and Protestants could worship freely. In 1649, Lord Baltimore issued "An Act Concerning Religion" that set strict penalties for blasphemy but also guaranteed religious toleration — although only for Christians. Have students read the portion of the Act that reads "noe person or psons whatsoever within this Province, or the Islands, Ports, Harbors, Creekes, or havens thereunto belonging professing to beleive in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth bee any waies troubled, Molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof within this Province or the Islands thereunto belonging nor any way compelled to the beleife or exercise of any other Religion against his or her consent, soe as they be not unfaithfull to the Lord Proprietary, or molest or conspire against the civill Governemt." ( documents/amendI_religions5.html) It may help students if you read the passage aloud and/or provide them with a kid-friendly translation that provides age-appropriate synonyms for difficult words and modernizes spelling. Ask students to compare this declaration of religious toleration with the First Amendment. How are they alike and different? Which groups of people are excluded from Maryland's religious toleration? Are any groups excluded from the First Amendment? Be sure to point out that, despite its limitations, Maryland's Act Concerning Religion was groundbreaking.

Resources for Objective 5.A.1.a:
Clarifications | LESSON SEEDS |