From King to Constitution “Get Off our Backs!”

Lesson Duration

Authors: iCivics

Students learn how the American colonists became used to governing themselves and ultimately declared independence from Britain in order to establish their own government. As a foundation for understanding why the new Americans chose the structure contained in our Constitution, students explore other types of government the colonists could have chosen. This lesson feeds into the lesson “Wanted: A ‘Just Right’ Government,” but may be taught independently.


The student will…

  • Discover what pushed the colonists into declaring independence by reading a selection with the class.
  • Compare different types of governments by brainstorming the pros and cons of monarchy, anarchy, direct democracy, and representative democracy.
  • Evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of these four types of government by choosing the most important pro and con for each type and explaining the choice.
  • Decide which type of government might have been most helpful for a variety of problems the colonists faced.

Source: From King to the Constitution “Get Off our Backs!”


iCivics (formerly Our Courts) is a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy. Founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.


Types of especially helpful comments: How you modified this for your class, How you would improve this lesson.

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *